Two years ago today we lost an amazing woman in "Grandma" Dorothy O'Toole.
Like her husband Tom O'Toole before her, she touched so many lives in her 80 plus years on this earth it is impossible to count- and not in the typical way many think of a special person with such reach touches people.
She managed to touch and impact so many souls through her true, living example - day to day and hour by hour.
She did it through her grace and her humility and ease of being herself - a loving and amazing mother, wife, Mother in law, friend and role model for all.
A few weeks ago my wife Tiffany came across a piece of paper in her Mom's paperwork that she gave me to read.
It was clearly worn, old, typed out and mimerographed. Clearly it was a piece that had been read and consulted many times over the years.
At the bottom of the paper in her mom's beautiful handwriting was the following quote:
"Definition of Success -
Be really true to yourself and absolutely, positively never let anyone steal your Spirit."
Fitting words from a woman who possessed such a special and irreplaceable spirit and who not only never allowed anyone to steal her spirit - despite her fair share of life's trials, setbacks, pains and sorrows - but managed to singlehandedly bolster and strengthen the spirit of everyone and anyone she encountered!
I thought it would be appropriate to share the rest of the piece that Grandma clearly believed to be true and it is not difficult to see her life - and the lessons she imparted on her children and loved ones - reflected in these truly inspiring and aspirational words she seemed to hold close to her heart.
Forgive the length of this but if you can trust me and get through it I don't think you will regret it for a moment.
It isn't hard to see that Grandma lived each day of her life in this way and it is invaluable advice for all of us.
Thank you Grandma - we miss and love you in our earthly lives on a daily basis but we know we will someday share a Schaeffer with a straw with you in love peace and joy - enjoying one heck of a sunset!
"The Seeds of Success
God I thank you for this day.
I know I have not accomplished as yet all you expected me, and if that is your reason for bathing me in the fresh dew of another dawn I am most grateful.
I am prepared, at last, to make you proud of me.
I will forget yesterday with all the trials and tribulations aggravation and setbacks, anger and frustrations.
The past is already a dream from which I can neither retrieve a single word nor erase any foolish deeds.
I will resolve, however, that if I have injured anyone yesterday through my thoughtlessness, I will not let this day's sun set before I make amends, and nothing I do today will be of greater importance.
I will not fret the future.
My success and happiness does not depend on straining to see what lurks dimly on the horizon, but to do this day what clearly lies at hand.
I will treasure this day for it is all I have.
I know that it's rushing hours cannot be accumulated or stored like precious grain for future use.
I will live as all good actors do when they are on stage - only in the moment!
I cannot perform at my best today by regretting my previous acts, mistakes or worrying about the scene to come.
I will embrace today's difficult task, take off my coat, and make dust in the world.
I'll remember that the busier I am the less harm I am apt to suffer, the tastier will be my food, the sweeter my sleep and the better satisfied I will be with my place in the world.
I will free myself today from slavery to the clock and calendar although I will plan this day in order to conserve my steps in energy.
I will begin to measure my life in deeds, not years,
in thoughts, not Seasons,
in feelings, not figures on a dial.
I will remain aware of how little it takes to make this a happy day.
Never will I pursue happiness, because it is not a goal just a byproduct and there's no happiness in having or getting, only in Giving.
I will run from no danger I might encounter today, because I am certain that nothing will happen to me that I am not equipped to handle with your help.
Just as any gem is polished by friction, I am certain to become more valuable through this day's adversities.
And if you close one door, I know you will always open another for me.
I will live this day as if it were Christmas.
I will be a giver of gifts and deliver to my enemies the gift of forgiveness,
to my opponents, tolerance;
To my friends, a smile;
To my children, a good example and every gift will be wrapped with unconditional love.
I will not waste even a precious second today in anger or hate or jealousy or selfishness.
I know that the seeds I sew I will harvest because every action, good or bad, is always followed by an equal reaction.
I will plant only good seeds this day.
I will treat today as a priceless violin.
One May draw harmony from it, another discord, yet no one will blame the instrument.
Life is the same and if I play it correctly it will give forth beauty, but if I play it ignorantly it will produce ugliness.
I will condition myself to look on every problem I encounter today as no more than a pebble in my shoe.
I remember the pain so harsh I could hardly walk and recall my surprise when I removed my shoe and found only a grain of sand.
I work convinced that nothing great was ever achieved without great ENTHUSIASM!
To do anything today that is truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can.
I will set the world with goals set for this day, but they will be attainable ones not of the vague impossible variety declared by those who make a career of failure.
I realize that you always try me with a little first to see what I would do with a lot.
I will never hide my talents.
If I am silent I am forgotten.
If I don't advance I will fall back.
If I walk away from any challenge today my self esteem will be scarred forever and if I cease to grow even a little, I will become smaller.
I reject the stationary position because it is always the beginning of the end.
I will keep a smile on my face and in my heart even when it hurts today.
I know the world is a looking glass and gives back to me the reflections of my own soul.
Now I understand the secret of correcting the attitudes of others and that is to correct my own.
I will turn away from any temptation today that might cause me to break my word or lose my self respect.
I am positive that the only thing I possess more valuable than my life is my HONOR.
I will work this day with all my strength, content in the knowledge that life does not consist of willowing in the past or peering anxiously into the future.
It is appalling to contemplate the great number of painful steps by which one arrives at a truth so old, so obvious and so frequently expressed.
Whatever it offers, little or much, my life is now.
I will pause whenever I'm feeling sorry for myself today, and remember that this is the only day I have and I must play it to the fullest.
What my part might signify to the Great whole I may not recognize, but I'm here to play it and now is the time!
I will count this day as a separate life.
I remember that those who have the fewest regrets are those who take each moment as it comes for all that is worth.
This is my day!
These are my seeds!
Thank you God, for this precious Garden of Time."
- Winnie Marlowe