Purpose, Passion, Patience and Laughter!


Family Celebration Weekend, on a snowy Saturday afternoon in Sunriver, Oregon.

Obviously I need an organizing consultant, but Marie Kondo isn’t available. I have been cleaning out and sorting for quite awhile, my clutter, my life. The wise words by Tony Wagner really hit home this week as I juggled some major life decisions and the fact that in only a few days I reach the not desired status of being widowed seven years. My what’s next, what I thought I knew was on overload.

I had a bunch of blips in the last couple weeks, some stuff not in my control, others, my fault. In fact, I made a mess of a few things I may or may not tell you about. It would take some courage to share. And you know I always talk with you, plain talk from my head, heart and soul. And I love to laugh with you, we all need to laugh more. There are so many funny things when we can look at ourselves and not take everything so darn seriously.

As I sit here writing to you, fairly large snowflakes are falling, drifting down on puffy, finely laced little snow feet. I know parts of our country are at the moment, inundated with snow, but in Eugene snow has been sparse, only seeming endless days of cloudy, bitter cold weather, damp, gloomy, biting to the bone. So my kids decided it was time for a break, snow, yes, time to play! For me, this meant time to read, nap, and reflect on some very big changes and transitions in my life again. This is common to everyone, pretty much, we just don’t see it, probably.

Mini-Vacation Break for Milestone Birthdays. Two forties, one eight, mine, not telling.

My Oregon family closely resembles the Griswolds in the movie Family Vacation. What goes on, getting us anywhere is pretty humorous. I was unbelievably busy to the last second and barely packed for the long weekend mini vacation. I always have a frenzy packing, anyway, so disorganized, even after Facetime with Rebecca and Morgan, planning what to take. I ended up with my flowered duffel bag, a smaller bag with snow clothes, couple of coats and jackets, a bunch of books and my kindle. So my Subie was already pretty full when I arrived at their house at the designated time yesterday.

We agreed to extend the weekend, including Morgan missing school, normally a no no. This was a big deal. We were leaving Eugene by 10 a.m., but at 1 PM, we were all still stuffed into my car, including their little Griffonshire dog, Charlie and all his stuff. Had a few last minute errands, including more reading material for me (junk magazines, newspapers), lettuce wraps for Morgan, then about four pit stops. Ayway we finally made the two hour trip in about six hours, lol. But it was worth it! Morgan and I were in the back seat. I had a couple inches in my zone, Baby Alive doll, stuffies, Kindle, dried seaweed and vegie chips, homework, books, no room for my feet. Packed like sardines, a car filled with expectation, excitement and love.

Even when work is play, we have to stop. Breathe. look, listen, laugh and love. Friends and family matter.

Until I actually got away, I didn’t realize how exhausted I was. Yes, I was aware that every day my calendar was filled with appointments, to -do lists and no balance, or not much. Passion and purpose were so major in my life it felt kind of out of control, like the treadmill I couldn’t get to turn off.

I think now that my strong sense of purpose and endless passion lacked one big thing, patience. Do I really have to do everything right now, at this exact moment? Is everything a top priority? Why can’t some things wait? What’s up with that? Are you kidding me? That’s due today, too?

It seems we are so prioritized, so busy, so unbearably busy, always so busy, our passion and priorities take us in multi-faceted, multi-dimensional directions, the roads taken and untaken.


What is your purpose? I know mine. To serve others until I can no longer do so, one way or another. I already came close and am so filled with gratitude I am not only still here, but hopefully relevant. My purpose now is to pass the proverbial torch in this, the twilight of my career life as teacher.


Passion drives us, servant leaders first and foremost. Because I have always been passionate about kiddos, my life is filled with heartwarming stories that continue to fill me with pride, humility and joy. By lifting others up, taking blame, making colleagues look good and sharing grace with others, I hope my legacy is worthwhile and long lasting. Passion defines us, surely.


I was torn between two strong words for my 2019 #oneword, ‘Celebrate’ and ‘Patience’. I selected Celebrate, but lately Patience is likely more significant in my life. Are you patient? Is this one of your gifts? Not mine, a major growth area. Seldom do things go as quickly or neatly as I would like, yet I am not as patient as I need to be. I know that and it is my goal. I could fill a page with the non-ending challenges lately I have had to prioritize, make sense of, then accept.


Play. It’s so important we make time for fun and allow ourselves the gentle curiosity and playful nature discovery offers. Workplace, schoolhouse and home, maintaining and letting loose with our sense of humor makes a wonderful difference as we achieve our goals and meet our aspirations. Getting to wherever we want to go is infinitely better when we have fun getting there. We see the world through a humorous lense, regardless whether we consider ourselves introvert, extrovert or other label, when we can laugh at ourselves and the ridiculous things we do, at least I do pretty much every day.

Purpose, Passion, Now What?

Finding peace and contentment for me is the ultimate outcome. Striving to meet my purpose and continually channeling my passion into worthwhile, upflifting endeavours, gets exhausting. Yet I seem to be compellled, driven, too often, driven. Even now. Maybe more than ever, as I know time is running out, I have been given a reprieve, future uncertain and unknown. Saying yes to a significant relationship, enjoying my family time and of course completing my book. That’s more than enough for me. Staying patient. Waiting.

I frequently post photos of my family because I want you to know who I am and what I believe in. Purpose and passion are not just about writing, teaching and leading. My every day, real time life is filled with curiosity, play, all the elements of a purposeful, passion filled life of meaning, grace and love. If I have one regret in my life, it is certainly I neglected my own children while taking care of everyone else. So hopefully, that will be my lesson for you.

I am confident I meet Tony Wagner’s sense of purpose, but I know I can do more for balance in my purpose filled life, more for me.

I had a heartwarming day today. Watching Morgan sled, toss snowballs, playing games, reading and napping, perfect. In order to do everything else I have in mind for the rest of my life, in order to shed light on others, in order to continue recuperating, regaining my strength and fueling my curiosity, these breaks are more important than I realized.


While I have been watching snow falling gently through the trees, catching a peek of a couple raccoons, voila! had an epiphany. I can’t make up for lost time so fast I lose track of where and who I am. Celebrations are great, but being a better listener, more authentic, fully present person is way more important. It’s time to start saying no, meet my Maslow, engage my inner Dewey, meeting basic needs, furthering my interests, and laughing along the way. I have to wait. I have to be patient. Things I cannot control, require my patience.

I need to be patient with my book, my granddaughter and now I will share this. Garnering my courage. My beautiful daughter Rebecca suffers from TBI, traumatic brain disorder since a car accident two years ago. She continues to do a myriad of therapies, and is so positive. We are believing she will be fully ok, but it tests our patience. So now you know, being with my Eugene little family this weekend was more than a mini-vacation, we are testing our resources, how far we are in our recoveries from seeming insurmountable odds, and finding the joy again.

Leaving footprints on your reading hearts, Rita

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