Somewhere Over The Rainbow



This morning we saw the most magnificent rainbow.  As we drove “closer” we noticed it was actually double and not only was it vibrant, but clearly it ended at our new house! Yes, we finally closed on a new home this afternoon. And for those of you who are kind enough o follow my blog, you know that the whole house chapter has been quite a story!

From selling our home unexpectedly and quickly last Spring, to landing in a great condo with darling Rockies baseball players as neighbors, to finding a house in a neighborhood in 48 hours after deciding that it was a hood we were interested in, we have to wonder if there really is a reason we took this leap of faith.

We found the house as serendipitously as we sold our last one.  While in Boston this summer, I made a list of what I wanted in our next house in my travel journal (plus glued in a pic of the top of a house with shingles and taped a piece of colored glass to the side). Then, as soon as I returned, I joined a project for large financial institution that sought to understand people’s thoughts on retirement. After the first week of interviews, I came home and questioned some of the retirement/housing decisions we were making. As for housing, why this hood vs that hood? Did I really have the bandwidth and brain strength to go through construction? If we wanted public high school to be an option so we could put money away for college, why were looking in neighborhoods that fell short?

And so, that Friday night at 2am, wine glass in hand, I hit and mapped the school district d’jour onto the screen. And there, smack dab in the loveliest neighborhood sat this house. The next day, I called Jason (who was part of the home building team) and said, ‘let’s look’. We looked, took Ken and Addie back right away and I headed off to the 2nd city for the 2nd round of retirement interviews. As I drove to the airport, we made an offer.

Long story short, after a verbal acceptance, it fell apart. Now I could write a whole entry on integrity (or lack thereof) and lessons learned,  but suffice to say, that after we picked ourselves up and moved on, the house came back on the market. At this point, I easily could have gotten very judgmental and followed though on my rant of “we don’t do business with people like that – let them get someone else’s money”, but instead I asked myself, “Do you want the house or do you want to be right?”  We had looked at enough to know that it was well-done, solid and get this…it had everything, except for two things on the list I had made in Boston! Down to skylights. What are the chances of that? It also had, embedded between the flagstone in the backyard, bits of colored glass and pottery AND the top tip of the front looks just like the picture! It’s not perfect, but it is quite nice.

And so, here I am, once again between two cities, on the same project. I came home last night, we closed today and tomorrow I head out for the 2nd city.

At some point, you have to believe that some things are meant to be. Now I have to trust that we can do the work we want to do with ease and that the couch will fit. After all, the rainbow landed there. I sure am hoping there is a pot of gold at the end of it.


How do you MindFULLY know when something is right? Let us know.

MindFULL Money

When was the last time you and your friends talked about money? I mean REALLY talked about it. Not just as a number, but deeper than that. What it means. More importantly, what YOU think it means.

I often say, if we all talked about money and sex, we’d have more of both (and I am pretty wealthy when it comes to generous friends – I am blessed with a few who are willing to share their thoughts on both subjects.) For my parents generation, the topic of money was taboo. So was wearing white after Labor Day.

For the next two weeks, I’ll be traveling to several cities, talking with people about the notion of retirement. It is a sensitive topic and an honor to hear their stories. It is also an opportunity to get a front row seat in the classroom of Life 101.

You see, I carry old family beliefs and behaviors about money that no longer serve me. It’s like wearing an old sweater that doesn’t really fit, but you can’t donate it.  However, something deep inside is telling me “it’s time to hang it up”.

It’s crazy, for in spite of being married to a patient and numbers-oriented man, I still feel unsure of so many things.  My husband uses Excel the way I use words and twice a year we sit down and talk about what we have and why we are doing what we are doing. Still, I lose steam.

In honor of this project, I vow to use what I hear to refill my tank. Yesterday I downloaded Mint to my iPhone and committed to tracking my spending.  Do you know Mint? Check it out. . It enables you to set a budget and then monitor your success as you work toward your goals. While you are standing in line to pay for something, you can pop the amount into the app and it will automatically calibrate what you have left.

I am also going to make an investment next week. I always talk about doing it and never pull the trigger.  For my own sense of  empowerment, I am going to take a piece of my paycheck and buy a stock. Just one. I have my eye on foreign telecom.  It’s a gut feeling. With Facebook in Bosnia, seems to me there needs to be tech support in smaller countries. Win or lose, I’ll know I tried. I’m so sick of hearing us all say, “If I had just bought Apple…”

And after breakfast, I am going to return the jeans I bought yesterday. I already have 7 pairs hanging in my closet. I’m no rock star. Who needs 8 pairs of jeans unless they are playing the bars on Sunday nights?

Who knows – if we open up this conversation, we might just find ourselves learning something new. Wouldn’t that be rich!


Do you have ways you are MindFULL about money? Let us know!

When Good-Bye Really Means Hello

Today we went to a going away party for our friend Akewak. A 14 year old ray of sunshine, he was brought to Denver,  from Ethiopia,  for lung and spine surgery and for six months lived as a  “ward” of  dear family  friends.

If any of you have children, I’d like you to stop reading right now and look over at them, or at a picture of them, and imagine they need life saving surgery … and the only place they will get what they need is in a foreign country, hosted by people you have never met, in a hospital you have never seen the likes of. Can you begin to imagine what life must have been like for his family in Ethiopia and for the family that welcomed him into their home? Who knew he would end up in the safety and love of a Jewish community, millions of miles away. And who knew that he would touch the members of the community with his eyes and heart.

When we met Akewak last Spring, he trustingly climbed into our car and headed to the Ethiopian market in search of Injera – Ethiopian bread. You would have thought he had known us for years. He and my 12 year old daughter became fast friends, and while she wasn’t around this summer to play often, when they were together, they were bonded.

How lucky for them to have struck up a friendship that can span the world.

Last week, my daughter and Akewak enjoyed a trip to Pinkberry’s and the video store. He had gotten a gift certificate to the yogurt chain and saved it to share with her. She had the idea of buying him a Nintendo DS for his hospital stays and together they picked out two new games for him to take home.

There must have been 200 people there today (circling through the 2 hour party window). 200 people, who’s lives were touched by a young boy with a crooked spine and a missing thumb. Funny, we forgot to notice. All we ever saw was the spirit of faith and the trust of G-d.

As we left, he hugged us good-bye and handed us a thank you note. A thank you note! Handwritten in English on stationary. He not only has courage, he also has class.

We can only hope that his next note says, “Hello”. We will miss him in person, but hope to find new ways to stay in touch. We take for granted computer access and the US Mail. They have neither readily available. But I’ll bet we will find a way. After all, look at what we have all found already.

How do you MindFULLY say hello? Let us know!

Just Do What You Love

“Holy *&^!” I screamed as my husband brought in the New York Times Sunday Style section. There, beaming from the cover, was Desiree Rogers, my old boss from the Illinois Lottery, ex-White House Social Secretary and now, CEO of Johnson Publishing.

For those of you who didn’t follow the story, Desiree was appointed Obama’s White House Social Secretary, the first black woman to hold the title. Beautiful, savvy and endowed with a Harvard MBA, she was pushed out for reasons that covertly added up to being “too much”. Foes started the bus and when they had a chance, they backed it up and rolled her over.

But Desiree has never been one to be crushed.

Instead of changing who she is to quiet the noise, she turned up the volume and found a job that suited her. She turned what could have been seen as a failure into a new future.

Once again, Desiree shows us that you have to be true to who you are. And if you are willing, you can rise from public humiliation, dust off your shoes and start walking toward what you want. You never know what is waiting on the next block. When we emailed last Spring, she wasn’t sure what she was going to do next. And now, she is doing exactly what she is meant to do.

Are you?

Who are YOU and what do you mindFULLY want to do? Let us know!