Eve Annunziato

LET IT GO ALREADY! October 16, 2008

Filed under: Just thinking...,relationships — Eve Annunziato @ 1:44 am
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Okay, I’m sitting in bed all covered up and toasty about to dive into a great book while Chuck, my sweet husband is doing bath, book and bed with the kids (God bless that boy!).  Yet, something weighs heavy on my heart – I keep hearing the words, LET IT GO ALREADY!  Did you ever feel like some people around you just need to hear that!  Okay, maybe not just “some people,” perhaps your own spirit, maybe my own soul.

Recently, Charlie and I returned from what we both agreed was one of our best vacations, ever.  I feel somewhat guilty admitting that, since it was just the two of us.  No kids, no family, no other friends.  Don’t get me wrong; I love all of the above  – spending invaluable time with our priceless loved ones.  It’s special, it’s a blast, and I appreciate quality time with friends and family.  However, there’s nothing better than connecting with my best friend in the whole wide world.  And, he loves me  (that’s a miracle in itself!).  We had five blissful days of non-scheduled time filled with indulgences of seafood, hot tubing, shopping and lots more ;-).  We got along swimmingly while enjoying our beautiful condo on the beach overlooking the picturesque Gulf located just above an amazing pool that served drinks with umbrellas!  One night, we decided to go surfing with the dolphins amidst a sunset cruise. I know, I’m a hopeless romantic – I can’t help it, but it sounded breathtaking.  And, it was truly amazing as we marveled over these entertaining dolphins joining us for the journey while riding our wake.  These precious mammals are known for their need for affection, love for attention (no wonder I relate!) coupled with great senses of humor and people-pleasing instincts (again, my esteem for these adorable guys is all making sense now!).

The most memorable part of the cruise was the profound words from our philosophical captain, the point of this post.  As the sun was setting, he encouraged us to hold on to our spouse, enjoy the moment, clear our minds, take a deep breath, appreciate the picture, live in the present and then said these exact words:

“As the sun is setting from the west above the gleaming ocean and as it disappears from our sight remember, this day will never return.  It’s gone forever.  Therefore, forget any negative feelings you harbor in your heart.  Let your fears, anger, bitterness, sadness, disappointments, failures, and regrets disappear with this very sunset.”

“Amen,” I exclaimed from the top deck. Sure, I got some looks, but his words inspired me – enough to journal this exact moment.   After all, like the sunset, all past circumstances are out of our control – evaporated into the night vanished onto the bottom of the ocean floor.   I’ll always view every sunset in this light.  Try it guys  – with every completion to the day, let it go.  A much needed reminder, following the conclusion of today.  Let it go already, and if not for you for the others around you!

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TRUE MEANING OF LIFE October 6, 2008

Filed under: relationships — Eve Annunziato @ 2:02 am
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Lately, I’ve been asking myself this question: Why do we often times wait until someone dies before we write down how we really feel about their life, their heart and soul, their victories and contributions? After all, I’m learning more and more that at the end of the day, almost everything means absolutely nothing. But, there is one thing that truly means something – relationships.  Love for God, Love for loved ones, and love for those we don’t even know (my most difficult personal challenge).   So, rather than waiting any longer, I decided to write a letter in honor of my mother – a woman who whole-heartedly understands the true meaning of life:

Dear Mom,

I know God doesn’t have favorites; He loves us all the same.  But if He did, you would most certainly be his favorite.  Why?  Many, many reasons.  For one, you don’t have one regret in this life.  Okay, just one – the regret that you’re allergic to chocolate – milky, creamy, heavenly, endorphin-releasing, mouth-watering chocolate.  And, while we’re all sorry for that, unlike most regrets in life, that one is out of your control.  Here are other reasons why God would love you best…

You called me a winner even when I lost.  I remember placing 5th, out of five, in the 100-yard dash.  But, you said I was number one in your eyes.

You taught me how to serve even when I was selfish. I’ll never forget the days we would head out delivering, “Meals on Wheels.” At first, I was a little scared about visiting these “old” people, but it didn’t take long before I was attached to each one of them and looked forward to our weekly visits.

You showed me how to be the hands and feet of Jesus not by making me repeat a memorized prayer, but by spending Saturday afternoons making PB&J and delivering them to the homeless lying in the streets of 69th street.  And, let’s not forget the letters I would help you write to the prison inmates serving life sentences to let them know they were forgiven in the eyes of God.

You told me I was the best even when I sang off key.  I have a vivid memory of a recital, during which I followed the girl who sang Italian Opera with my rendition of an out of tune, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  Oh, my voice was somewhere out there all right, but you gave me a standing ovation and told me I was an amazing singer.  There are those that would call that lying.  But, in my humble opinion, more parents should tell those types of fibs.

You supported me, believed in me, and encouraged me to follow my dreams when everybody thought my aspirations of being on TV were unrealistic.   You called over 100 news stations to get contact info before the days of the Internet, helped me package, mail and deliver over 70 resume tapes.  I’ll never forget the moments you cried with me after reading the more than 50 rejection letters I received in response.  When I finally did land my first TV reporter gig in North Carolina, you came to visit.  When the News Director showed you a closet full of resume tapes and explained to you how lucky your daughter was to have this job, your sassy reply, “No sir, you’re luck to have my daughter.”  My former boss and I still laugh about that story.

And, following a fight with a mean friend, I’ll never forget you went down to the local Trolley Stop, got down on your hands and knees, pulled tissues from your purse, and wiped off the derogatory chalk graffiti on the sidewalk written about me out of an act of revenge.   You used those tissues more than once; they wiped my snotty nose, wiped my teary eyes, and wiped the dirt and blood off of my little boo-boos.

And, when you finally enter the gates of heaven and meet our Holy Father, this is what I predict he’ll say,  “Well done, good and faithful servant, you are my child, delight of my life, chosen and marked by my love, whom I love and am well pleased.  I don’t have favorites but if I did, you would definitely be it!”  Then, he’ll hand you a big eternal chocolate bar.  To which your reply will be, “Thanks!  My daughter told me you were going to say that.   Oh, and may I please have the one with caramel!”

 

Gifted To Lead PART 2 September 25, 2008

I could talk about this subject all day.  But instead, I’ll just dedicate one final post. As a refresher, we’re exploring the book by Author Nancy Beach called, Gifted to Lead, an inspiring and refreshing journey in which Nancy poignantly explores the art of leading as a woman (Men, don’t stop reading, this will help you manage, teach, lead, and understand the women in your world more). The following will resonate with women and men of influence:


“I believe it is no accident that Jesus was the first rabbi to teach women, to include them in his circles, to give them a level of dignity and opportunity that had been unknown.  We’re told in the eighth chapter of Luke that when Jesus traveled around, he went in a community that included the Twelve, along with women who, in some cases, came from pretty shady backgrounds.  Imagine in that day, a little group of men and women, mostly single, traveling together from town to town. Imagine the rumors and gossip!  Yet Jesus was so committed to creating a new kind of community where it was possible for men and women to relate to each other as brothers and sisters that he was courageously willing to run the risk.  And, so was born a new kind of community, where in Christ there was no longer male and female to stand as a barrier that divided humanity.”
John Ortberg, Forward in Gifted To Lead

Wow!  I love that.  This week a wise man pointed out that at the core of who we are, man and woman, we are the same.  Jesus looked directly into our heart, not our sex.  Leadership is an act of the spirit, an immense responsibility, an earned respect, a presence, a skill not to be taken for granted.  After all, on some level, whether mother, wife, employer, employee, volunteer, homeroom mom, community group facilitator, friend or daughter, we all lead in some capacity.  Embrace it, enjoy it, and accept it.

“I challenge all leaders – women and men – to discover their unique style of leadership and then to live it out with confidence and passion.  The church and our world need all kinds of leaders!  When I see a man lead a team by building strong community, or a woman who displays amazing skills of strategy or vision, I celebrate.  Being true to how God made us makes leadership less of a burden and more of a natural outpouring of how we function best.”  Nancy Beach, Gifted To Lead

I’ll leave you with that.  It will have to be all for now.  I have to sew a flag costume that includes a red, white, and blue wig for my son’s history project this week.  If you know me, I give you permission to laugh aloud.  Alas, it’s time for me to lead this costume making undertaking (Pray for me!).

 

Kung Fu Panda Part Two August 3, 2008

“You are too concerned with what was and what will be. There’s an old saying; Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that’s why it’s called the Present.”
Oogway (The Tourist from the Movie Kung Fu Panda)

As promised, here are my honest uncensored thoughts on the above ancient and wise philosophies from the latest DreamWorks cartoon:

1.  About Yesterday – let it go already! I’ve made some stupid and pathetic decisions in my past. There are risks I’ve regretted and paths I should have never traveled. But I have news for ya, in the eyes of your merciful, all loving God of the universe, they’re over, they’re forgiven, they’re forgotten and buried on the ocean floor never to resurface. If our heavenly Father can, than why can’t we forgive ourselves? Recently, I’ve started to adapt this philosophy and sure enough, over this past year in particular, I worked hard to break this habit of tossing and turning over “Eve’s pathetic moves!” I’m glad I’m making strides and growing in this area; gaining more joy in my life and a lot more sleep!! Should I learn from my unwise choices? Certainly. Have a teachable spirit, acquire the knowledge, and then move on… After all, it’s history already!

2.   About Tomorrow – who knows? For example, my lovely and beautiful mother has cancer. There I said it. I despise even mentioning the dreaded “c” word. However, it’s a reality. We were once again saddened to find that it has resurfaced and reared its ugly head. Over the past few months, the bad cells have spread and she’s fighting hard as the pain has increased. Her next move is back to the dreaded chemotherapy treatments causing sickness, nausea, and many other negative side effects. Yes, Mom will prevail and I have complete faith will WIN the battle through Him. As I type, the kids and I are on our way to visit my family for our annual crabbing and beach trip in St. Michaels, MD, staying along the picturesque Chesapeake Bay. There we will love on Mom and tell her EVERY DAY that we value her, appreciate her and will fight with her. Yes, her pain breaks all of our hearts for no one wants to see our loving, thoughtful, caring, gracious, positive, uplifting, encouraging, friend go through an ounce of pain (I could spend all day listing her positive attributes to our family and the Kingdom!). This year we’ve traveled with Mom visiting great places like Disney World (at her request) and have seen her more over the last 12 months than in years past. We’ve decided to take her anywhere anytime and never take her for granted. Next, we’re thinking about a return to Europe. She loved Italy when we took her, and lately she’s mentioned Spain. When she is finished treatment, I imagine I’ll be booking that trip next! My point – what does the future look like exactly? I have no idea hence it’s indeed a mystery.

     About The Present – Our days are numbered and everyday is a Gift! So, go on and LIVE IN IT! Enough said.

 

Compromise – But Why Should I? July 14, 2008

Filed under: Life and Leadership — Eve Annunziato @ 4:29 pm
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There was a time long ago (okay, not that long ago) that I didn’t like to compromise. I didn’t care for the concept, the idea, the act because I thought it was a sign of weakness or a declaration of defeat especially in leadership. I had that, “this is my story, and I’m sticking to it” mentality. I felt I could balance the dichotomy of having a teachable spirit with out having to “give-in” or bend against my wishes. Have you been there?

However, after a few years of marriage, I realized that if I continue to think the “c” word was a bad word my marriage would suffer the consequences. Incidentally, the more I fail, the more I become a pragmatist and open to practical change. My wise and sweet-spirited husband kindly taught me the benefits of this “give and take” approach by leading through example. I began to mature in this area, and I would soon commence to appreciate the art of compromise is other avenues of my life. Eventually, I learned that it’s a sign of strength. However, there are still situations when we should NEVER compromise – and I thought my husband’s latest post (http://lifebarometer.wordpress.com) on the subject put it pointedly. Here are his thoughts; I would love to hear yours:

If you’re not very good at compromising, you’re missing out on opportunities to strengthen relationships and to make your world better than it is today. Compromise can improve your relationships because it shows others that you consider their side important. It assures them you take their feelings seriously. In business, if you’ve ever closed a big money deal, you know the importance of the “give and take” in negotiations. Most deals wouldn’t be done without some compromise from both sides.

Compromise is generally a good and productive thing. However, there are things you shouldn’t compromise. Hold fast to your morals and principles. Don’t compromise your core values. Your values determine your daily actions and how you conduct your life. Don’t change who you are to satisfy someone else if you have to lower your morals to do so. No deal is worth that. The goal in compromise is to create a win-win situation. Everyone should get something of value out of the deal. But how can you get value by compromising your core values?

The truth, I have compromised my values in the past, but now realize I was making the wrong kind of deal. No longer entering into that kind of one-sided deal is a skill I plan to work on and develop in both leadership and in Life!