My husband Jim came home the other day with some gently used towels, and blankets for a drive he is conducting through his real estate office. We are donating these items to Operation Blankets of Love- a California based organization devoted to bringing necessary items to rescue animals designed to bring comfort and a sense of safety. I was struck by his comment that the most recent donation came from a friend who has seen her share of struggles over the past few years. A beautiful, senior woman with a gift for acting, who has been overseeing the care of some troubled and ill family members, someone who has experienced anguish and significant financial stress, was dropping off items for the animals. Jim knew that she didn’t have extra funds to be spending on these donations, despite how well-received they would be. She told him, “when you fall on hard times, it is even more important to give back.”

This is the world I want to inhabit; the melting pot of connection, compassion and generosity where the needs of others is at least as important as our own needs if not more so. When we are hurting emotionally, it is said we should offer that to another person coping with their own pain. If it is financial wealth we are seeking, bring that about in others, be that person who makes this flow of abundance available to those looking for that very thing in their lives. It all seems so simple, but the challenges of life can cloud that clarity, and it often takes someone like Jim’s friend to frame it so succinctly.

I have been humming Beyonce’s song: “I Was Here” under my breath a lot lately.
I tend to do that- subconsciously, I hum a song that is expressing the notions and ideas rolling around in my head or settling deeply into my heart. As I see this year to a close, with gratitude even for the obstacles that have forced me or others I love to grow, I offer these words that I will take along with me into 2014. May all of you use your blessings and leave personal legacies with your own signature.

>I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time
Know there was something that
Meant something that I left behind
When I leave this world,
I’ll leave no regrets
Leave something to remember,
So they won’t forget

I was here…
I lived, I loved
I was here…
I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know
I was here…

I want to say I lived each day,
Until I die
And know that I meant something in somebody’s life
The hearts I have touched,
Will be the proof that I leave

That I made a difference