Gone Too Soon

In life sometimes, if we are lucky, we come across individuals whose strength, determination, and selflessness leave an indelible mark on our hearts. My friend Liz was all that, sprinkled with extra sugar and spice! We met when we had just both become mothers for the first time, since then, we navigated life together in our new role as mothers and eventually, a bond of friendship, a sisterhood developed.

Our conversations ran deep, we spoke about everything and anything. We talked a lot about the people who mattered the most to us, our families , parents, siblings, spouses, children, and childhood best friends. We connected because we both knew the value of an authentic friendship. We always made time for one another and touched base once a week, even if it was just a quick call or text. We looked forward to spending time with one another, it almost always resulted in buckets of laughter, tears and lots of good food!

Liz had battled cancer twice before , when she found out that she had cancer again , she was resolved on beating it. “ I did it before, I can do it again! I can beat this! “ I believed that she could. She was amazing , her fight with cancer was quiet but it was fought valiantly, with her quiet reserve, her signature smile and with so much dignity and grace. She never allowed fear to consume her. Our friendship allowed her to share her fears with me and it allowed me to help get her back to faith or just let her cry. She sometimes needed a good cry, we both did, and then we would find something to laugh about! Liz made a conscious decision to embrace life fully, second by second, moment to moment. She was determined to be positive and her family served as the driving force behind her strength.

We lost Liz a month ago today, I miss her deeply.

Her loss was undoubtedly heartbreaking for all who loved her but her memory continues to inspire and uplift. In one of our last conversations, she asked me not to allow myself to wallow in sadness when she passes, but to enjoy every second of life and to keep an eye on her kids. That’s a promise I plan on keeping.

My view of life has been shifted because of my friend. Bit by bit, cancer took parts of her, what remained was her kindness, empathy, wit and her sweetness. She always expressed her gratitude and counted her blessings, she lived for her family. She cherished her friendships and paid attention to foster and nurture those relationships. Her children are amazing, a testament to her and her husband’s loving attention and dedication.

She would joke that dying young meant she would never have wrinkles and that she would be reunited with her mother, who had passed away from cancer only a few years earlier. She missed her lovely mom so much, and I know she was happy to have finally been reunited.

I want to honor her legacy by embracing life with the same passion, compassion, perseverance and determination.

In the end, my friend’s journey was not defined by her battle with cancer, but by her unwavering commitment to love, hope, and making the world a better place for her children. May her story continue to inspire us to be better, to connect, to give more, and to cherish each precious moment we have with those we love.

When I look at her children’s faces, I see her smile and her eyes.

Her absence will forever be felt but I will forever be grateful to have known her beautiful soul.

Until we meet again my sweet friend.💔🙏🏻🌸

Replace Fear with Gratitude

In this time of fear and uncertainty, I want to express my gratitude. I’m grateful that I live in a safe country, in a comfortable home, with plenty of food in my fridge and pantry. I’m grateful that my family and I are healthy and that we have access to good doctors and hospitals. There are people all over the world, and right here in the United States without many of these benefits. Right now, we are all in fear of this pandemic, and fear spreads faster and wider than any virus. Fear will cause anxiety, which will cause stress and that will cause you harm in the end. All we can do is be vigilant and do what experts say, keep your distance from others. Stay home and be grateful.

During this time, we get to enjoy the company of our families. We need to be present and calm. Our uncertainty and fear overflows to our children, for them and for ourselves we need to focus on the good and practice gratitude. Take advantage of this time and teach your children to meditate, practice mindfulness, get organized, learn to cook, sketch, or just read a book or two. Take a walk as a family, watch movies together, take an online course and have virtual discussions with friends and family.

We are lucky enough to have the ability to see and communicate with one another. It can be reassuring to be together virtually. Recently I saw a birthday video that was created for a close friend of mine. It was messages from her loved ones about what an amazingly positive source of love she is to them. How wonderful that they were able to extend their love and celebrate her birthday virtually.

Don’t listen to people who believe it’s the end of the world. Choose to see the positive in your situation. Do whatever you can to feel in control of the situation, like frequent hand-washing. Boost your immune system with healthy habits and activities, such as regular exercise. Stock up on food just in case the authorities order you to stay indoors for a while. That’s all you can do. You can choose to see the glass half empty or half full. Your choice. Be safe and grateful. Thank you for reading my perspective.


This is a letter to my daughter,

I can’t believe that you are a teenager! Although I do see some major eye rolling and a lot more time away from the “mommy” you used to be glued to, you’re still the beautiful, loveable you! You will always be our baby.

I want you to know that the day you were born was the most magical day of our lives. God blessed us with the most amazing little girl in the world. You are the most precious gift we have ever received.

You changed our lives forever. You are as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. You are an old soul, wise beyond your years. You fill our hearts and our lives with so much love and purpose. I know that whatever you do in life will positively impact the world. Your beautiful heart is filled with love, kindness and compassion. The love and loyalty you have for your family members and your friends always amazes me. We are so privileged to have you as our daughter. While we help shape the person you will become as an adult you have helped us to grow and learn as well. I know you will teach us a lot more as you continue to grow into the beautiful woman you will soon become. Know that love and the bond you shared with your grandparents will sustain you for life. You will always have them watching over you. They were so proud of you just as we are. I know that you will continue to make us proud.

We love you Sophia and wish you the happiest of birthdays. Welcome to your teen years, they go fast, so learn, live well, make the right decisions and always know that your family will be here for you. Remember, God and family first, always, that’s the legacy that is left for you by your grandparents.

Love, Mommy

I love this manifesto on parenting by Brene Brown and thought that I would share it with you all.

If you want to download the parenting Manifesto..click on this link. Wholehearted_ParentingManifesto (5

And if you want to shop for some pretty gorgeous little girl clothes make sure to visit http://www.ariaandsophia.com

Your Path in Life

Do you like the path you have chosen in life? Maybe it took you years of getting your education to become a lawyer or a doctor, or a teacher. Maybe you are a stay at home parent or an advertising executive or a postal worker. It doesn’t matter what you do. Have you ever just given it some thought? Does it fulfill you? Does it make you proud? Does what you do contribute positively to anyone or any cause? Does it make you a better person? Does it bring you some sort of satisfaction? Maybe it challenges you, if it feels right then good for you!

There are many who are not feeling especially positive about their work. Maybe it does not bring them joy or satisfaction. It pays the bills but why just settle for paying the bills? Why not spend some time and thought on what will make you happy and pay the bills. Many of us just grow up expecting to find our way to the perfect vocation. We go to school, then to college, then to a good paying job that will support us. Some of us are happy, others start off being challenged and satisfied but something changed, their jobs no longer makes them feel good. That is just a little nudge from the universe telling you that it’s time to do something different.

Human beings are ever evolving. The one constant in life is that there will always be change. If we listen to those uncomfortable feelings and we try new things, we grow and blossom. If we cling onto something that is no longer serving us then we become stagnant. That is a foul place to be. We are always evolving, always growing, always learning something new. Even in grief, especially in grief.

Life is short, stop looking in the past and stop worrying about the future. Just be in the present, be thankful.


Out of the night that covers me,   
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,   
I thank whatever gods may be   
  For my unconquerable soul.   
In the fell clutch of circumstance 
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.   
Under the bludgeonings of chance   
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.   
Beyond this place of wrath and tears   
  Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years   
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.   
It matters not how strait the gate,   
  How charged with punishments the scroll,   
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley


Invictus means “unconquerable” or “undefeated” in Latin, The poem was written while Henley was in the hospital being treated for Pott’s disease.

If you are fighting some sort of battle be it depression, loss, divorce, just go inward and feed your soul. Be kind to yourself, take it slow, meditate, pray, surround yourself with people who love you and want to listen to you. This may be a painful time but know that you are strong and you are never alone. And remember to count your blessings, that in itself is a way back from the dark.

Until next time……

The Love of Our Grandparents


How important are grandparents to our children? They raised us and now our parents have a completely different role as grandparents. Recently my daughter expressed her love to her grandparents on National Grandparents Day. She is constantly expressing her love to them but she was happy to know that there is a specific day that celebrates grandparents.

The day falls each year on the first Sunday after Labor Day. The holiday was initiated at the grassroots level by West Virginian Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade. She and her husband had 15 children, 43 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild!

There are three purposes for National Grandparents Day, to honor grandparents, and to give them an opportunity to show love for their grandchildren, (as if they need a day to do that!) And to help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance their elders can offer.


I was so lucky to have known and loved three of my grandparents. My maternal grandfather pictured on the left had passed away by the time I was born. I adored both my grandmothers (I couldn’t find pictures of them). My paternal grandfather pictured on the right was the love of my life. There are days that I still get really sad that he is no longer with us. He was an honest, caring, loving man with integrity and honor. He was a celebrated general but to me he was the most amazing grandfather in the entire world. Words cannot express the love he gave me. He made me feel invincible. I was a little girl when I lost my grandfather during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. I was devastated but the memories we shared together have stayed with me all my life. There is not a day that I don’t think about him. It always amazes me just how much he impacted my life. My childhood was one of bliss, mostly because of his existence. Once he was gone, something in me ceased to exist. The point is that his existence really helped shape me as a human being.

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Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us. They are a link to our heritage and traditions.

Because they are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations.

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I know my daughter has a deep connection with her grandparents. They are able to reach her in a way that my husband and I cannot. They are able to teach her without lecturing her. They are able to love her without feeling the responsibility of parents.


Grandparents have a unique position, they don’t have to worry about rules and routines. Their unique position in the family attracts natural adoration from their grandchildren. They love them no matter what, no expectations or requirements. They’ve passed the test by being born. Their situation is ideal for becoming best friends and confidants. Children can confide in their grandparents because they expect emotional support rather than rationality and behavior lessons.

A grandparent is a friend with special power. They can make little hurts feel better. Better yet, they are a friend who can reach the cookie jar!

Being a grandparent is the best excuse to be a kid again. They can make great memories with our children.

My grandparents were my role models, my mentors, and my confidants. I hope you are giving your children the chance to enjoy this special relationship and foster a special love with their elders.




Summer has always been about travel and family for me. As a child I spent most of my summers traveling to different countries but they all had something in common, we always went to at least one location where we could spend time with family. I spent many summers in Germany, France or in California visiting my uncle and his family. It was always amazing to visit different places, see new faces, try new foods and learn about a new culture .

My favorite part of our trips was always time spent with family. That’s when I connected with my cousins. I knew we wouldn’t see each other again until the next summer so I made sure to just take in the time we had together. It was always so easy just to pick up from where we left off the previous year. It never felt strained or foreign to me.


I come from a culture that keeps extended family close. I believe that having them in my life and the life of my daughter helps build a strong, healthy unit. Naturally, kids bond with their parents and siblings first, but extended family members can also provide the emotional and physical support that they need. My grandparents, aunts and uncles always helped and supported my parents and I. It’s not all roses though, they also tend to give unsolicited advice, opinions on the way you dress, the way you behave and the choices you make. Honestly, the good outweighs the bad.  My extended family members offer support when times get tough. I always have someone in my life that can watch my daughter or help me cope if any health crisis arises or just to give me a break! Another advantage is that my daughter gets to bond and develop trust with other members of the family. When extended family members are involved in child rearing, it reportedly also helps improve self esteem and self worth in kids. The relationships children build with extended family members can provide them with a better sense of identity and support, improving the way they feel about themselves. Children are also exposed to different interests and ideas from extended family. My parents teach my child some very important lessons that my husband and I may not be able to teach. She can sometimes tell my sister things she may not be able to tell me.

Last summer my daughter and I spent a few weeks in California visiting family. We had lots of fun and family bonding!

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We’ve continued our tradition of spending quality time with our extended family. We have also started the tradition with my husband’s family.  I hope that my little girl will continue the tradition when she grows up. I want her to value and cherish her extended family members the way that I do.

How are you spending your summer?




Growing up some of my fondest memories are those with my extended family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and my cousins. I had a lot of fun and I got into a lot of mischief with my cousins. To this day, whenever we’re together even if it’s after many years, it’s as if we were never apart. Childhood memories flood through my mind. I have a sense of euphoria, a happiness that I only share with them. It’s a connection that’s unique and filled with memories of happy carefree days.
I feel blessed to have such amazing cousins and experiences. They’re my first friends and will forever remain in my life. I wish that for my child, so every opportunity I get I make sure she spends it with her cousins even if it means we take a three hour trip to Connecticut to see two sweet little girls!
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Friends come and go. If we are lucky we have a handful of friends for a lifetime that love us even at our worst. That is rare and special.
Cousins are stuck with us, well mine are anyway. They can’t get rid of me even if they try!
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My daughter is very much like me. She has such love for her cousins. It’s a special bond we want to nurture, especially because she is an only child.
How do you feel about your cousins? We are planning on spending a lot of time this summer making wonderful new memories with ours.