As we prepare for the Spring and Summer of 2017, I think about Memorial Day and those who gave their lives so that we may live freely, kids getting out of school for yet another summer break and of course another summer of heat and most likely drought (which will most likely affect us all – as we continue to face the issue of water shortage that will one day, in the not too far distant future, be a HUGE issue for our children and our children’s children).  I must also think about the 2016 Presidential election and how it has played out on the national stage.  It is the one experience in our country that is both uniting and divisive.  It is a privilege and a right to speak up and place our vote for the candidate of our choosing every 4 years.  Yet, it can cause houses to become divided and issues to rise to the top that aren’t good for the hearts and souls of any Americans.  It will have an effect on every facet of our lives for not only the next 4 years but for decades and decades to come.  Do the children who prepare for summer vacation have any idea about the world around them?  We can no longer act and live as though we live in a bubble, we’re all far too connected.  We are responsible for so many lives far beyond our own backyards and our own boarders.  Things have changed and not necessarily for the better in all cases.  And, in this very small world that we live in,  and whether we like it or not, we’re all very connected.

But, as I think about being connected, I also think happy thoughts like summer vacations, family reunions and time with family.  I am reminded of my many blessings.  My growing extended family and my 91-year-old step-father (the man who essentially raised me), who although greatly affected by Alzheimer’s, he is still mine and I still get to visit him and spend precious moments with him.  I was also blessed to know and love my 92-year-old mother-in-law, who made me feel both welcomed into her family with open arms and her life in a small town by including me in anything and everything she could.  Her graciousness and true Southern charm were beyond compare and I always try to honor her whenever I attempt to host friends, family or strangers in our home.

I guess what I’m trying to share from all of this, is that life does go on even in spite of the many tragedies we face.  But, life is a group of many shared experiences.  We are all affected by the triumphs, tragedies, joys and sadness that each of us experience.  The world we live in changes every day.  The choices we make today in our personal and business life will affect generations to come.  We are all connected today and every day and all of the changes and choices we make will have a lasting impact on this world for many many years to come and the in lives in it well beyond our time here.  So, it is incumbent upon us all to choose wisely.   Because, Toto, We’re NOT in Kansas anymore!