Maggie’s Thought for the Month: Just Show Up

One of the top selling book categories is how to be successful. The best advice I received on being successful- ‘Just Show Up’.

Maggie was always there when I needed her. After a long day at work, she was waiting at the door to greet me. If I was working in the yard, and someone came on our property, she was right at my side to protect me. She remembered neighbors daily walk times, and was always at the fence waiting to say hello & maybe get a treat. Day or night, I could always count on Maggie to show up.

We live in a world that changes quicker than any other time in our past. People are constantly trying to make themselves marketable, employable or the most valuable on the team. I’ve learned the most important quality to have is to just be there.  When I need help on a task, the quality I look for in the person to ask is not the smartest or strongest person. It’s the person who is going to show up- and be there until the job is done.

Maybe being successful is 1% Luck and 99% Dedication.

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Maggie’s Thought for the Month: Your Path, Your Destiny

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I’ve heard the secret to living your destiny is to stop asking other people for directions. Everyone has an answer when helping another find the ‘right’ path in life.

Maggie was a wanderer. She loved to go hiking, and venture off the marked paths. Her tail would wag with delight, while her legs moved swiftly to keep up with a scent she was following. During these detours from the path, I often found the best landscapes to photograph.  Maggie never hesitated to walk the unknown, and she always enjoyed the journey.

Our world seems to be filled with people that follow a traditional path, or those that want to pave their own way. From my experiences, people following the untraditional path get asked a lot more questions. Maybe our world can also be divided by people who fear the unknown, and people who crave the excitement of the unknown. The times in my life when I didn’t know my destination, resulted in the most memorable experiences & life changing opportunities.

Everyone is unique.  Follow your own path. It just may lead to your destiny.

The Greatest Gift

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The holiday months are approaching. This means family get togethers, celebrating traditions, and trying to make special memories with loved ones.

When I reflect on my favorite childhood memories, none are of the holidays. I remember the ordinary, every day events as the most special. Memories of my father reading to my sister & me at bedtime, or my mother waiting for us in the kitchen with a snack when we walked home from school. I recall family dinners every night, and sharing the responsibilities of keeping the house clean and doing yard work.

I often hear parents stress about searching for the perfect Christmas gift, or saving for the ‘dream’ family vacation. The price of these ‘must-have’s’ often mean long hours at work or paying someone to do the ‘ordinary daily activities’.

I am often asked if I worry about not having anything to write about. I have a bottomless treasure box of family memories. They were not created once a year, or with the need to go away to a fancy hotel or tropical paradise. My memories were created everyday at home- with loved ones who just wanted to spend time with me.

A child who feels important and valuable; the greatest gift a parent can give.

What Is A Hero?

L.Massucci

By LINDA MASSUCCI

What Is A Hero?

The dictionary defines a hero as somebody who is admired for outstanding qualities or achievements. What defines an outstanding quality or achievement? Does outstanding mean beyond everyday life accomplishments?

In today’s world, we can rapidly name an actor, athlete or musician we would call a hero. These people have accomplished or created something that many could never conceive. On the contrary, it is the ‘non-heroes’ who experience life accomplishments every day; living with grace, ethics, and honesty.

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In my youth, I recall my heroes as the people who always protected me, taught me wrong from right, practiced what they preached, and loved me enough to give consequences for immoral actions. Living everyday with grace, ethics and honesty is difficult to achieve for the most strong and powerful, as we are reminded daily from television and other social media.

My heroes never made the news or were viewed as strong and powerful. Their titles were dad, mom, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, neighbor and teacher. They were my heroes not because of one outstanding accomplishment, but because of their consistent & unwavering dedication to all the small accomplishments.  Nurturing children who understand the value of living everyday with grace, ethics and honesty was their greatest achievement.

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

 

Linda Massucci grew up in a small town in Connecticut. She first enjoyed creative writing in elementary school and continued to write short stories in high school. At college, she wrote a short story for a Christian Marriage class and was told her writing was very similar to John Steinbeck. As an avid reader, she looks for books that inspire, educate and use her imagination.

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 Linda’s books allow the reader to contemplate the importance of family, faith, values and how the actions each person takes in life always affect other people. Her first published book from Helping Hands Press is titled ‘Legacy of Grandpa’s Grapevine’. The following is an excerpt from the book:

I can’t recall the first memory I have of my Grandpa Frank, but I can recall the many Sundays at his home just listening to him speak. He told of stories of coming to America with ten dollars in his pocket and his best girl by his side. When he laughed, you could see his stained teeth from all those cigars he smoked since the age of twelve. His face was worn from working outside at the trolley yards and his hands had calluses and scars. Grandpa Frank was a slim man with wavy white hair. I’m sure, in his youth, he must have been an attractive man, but to me he was just my Grandpa Frank. An old man who always had time to sit with me and listen to my worries, hopes and insecurities. Whether I was eight years old or sixteen years old, I could always depend on Grandpa Frank for a listening ear. He was never hard to find either. From my house to his, it was a quick bike ride and all downhill too! Pass the town bank, cross the street at the market, turn left across the tracks, and you entered the Italian side of town. Grandpa Frank and Grandma Marie moved into the two story white house after they left Brooklyn. Grandpa said the Italian section was called Goat’s Island, because so many of the families had goats in their yards. I don’t remember Grandpa Frank having goats — I guess he got tired of taking care of them. There was one thing he never got tired of caring for, and that was his grapevine. (Prologue)

Linda Massucci captures the heart of family values in ‘Legacy of Grandpa’s Grapevine’. The flashbacks throughout the story will find the reader laughing and reflecting about their own family memories and adventures as a child. The bond between the main characters, Elizabeth and Grandpa Frank, will have readers wanting to be a part of their special relationship.

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Linda enjoys writing about her travels across America, blogging about her beloved dog Maggie who passed away to young, dabbles in landscape photography, cherishes every opportunity to walk on the beach at sunrise & sunset, and values spending time with family & friends. She enjoys a non-competitive game of golf & hopes to play at Pebble Beach someday. You can follow her blog at www.lindamassucci.wordpress.com, or her other social media sites: www.facebook.com/lmmassucci twitter handle: @LindaMassucci or at pinterest.com/lindamassucci

When It’s Family…A Crisis Can Be A Good Thing

 

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The following is an excerpt from ‘Legacy of Grandpa’s Grapevine’. It is one of my favorite flashbacks in the story. Read on, and you’ll find out why.

“You’re a writer Elizabeth. Turn the so-so good stuff into this juicy stuff your boss wants to read. I believe most people start off in the working world wanting to do good. Sometimes we meet so many not-so good people that we get tired and start to compromise. People start to say, ‘well if I do this one bad thing it will let me do two good things, so I guess it’s o.k.’ Then, what do people remember? The one bad thing. You have to take care of all the little stuff, and that will bring you to the big stuff. It’s like my flower garden, you see. I made sure I have good dirt. I give the flowers good fertilizer and maybe a little wine now and then. But what is it that I’m hoping for? Pretty flowers, yes? And you see the pretty flowers will come, if I take care of all the little things that need to be done. Sound good?”

“Sounds good. But, I know my boss will say ‘Elizabeth, join the real world, keep up with the times, it’s called progress.’ I can just hear him now.”

“Progress means moving forward to be a better person and to make things better for other people. Tell him that’s exactly what you will write about Elizabeth. You will write about this man who is trying to make progress. Capisce?”

“Capisce.”

This flashback was one of my favorites to write, because I’ve had to remind myself on my occasions to do the right thing, even when people of ‘authority’ have encouraged me to make the wrong choice. In life, we tend to get complacent and accept the belief that certain things are impossible change. The secret to living a good life is realizing you will never change others, but you can constantly change yourself. Everyone in life meets bullies and evil people. At times, our society will label this as a crisis; which leads to panics in communities or the justification that sometimes a wrong is necessary for the greater good.

I recall a quote from a biography written about President John F. Kennedy. He noted ‘When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters, one that represents danger and one that represents opportunity.’ I suppose Grandpa Frank would ask Elizabeth which character would you focus on during a time of crisis. More importantly, how would you like to be remembered after the crisis was over.

Wouldn’t it be a great if everyone viewed evil people or evil choices in our world as an opportunity to do the right thing; not to respond to evil with fear, hatred or  greed.