Posts Tagged With: Inspiration

The Way

Have you seen the movie “The Way”?
It’s in theaters now, starring Martin Sheen.

What path does life lead you down? We have so many choices each day from the moment we awake. What to wear, what to eat, which road to travel to work, relationships to build, relationships to mend, relationships to let go. How we react to others says so much about our character. This movie is a beautiful tribute to the pilgrims that walk the path that St. James took to Camino de Santiago. This can be a 500 mile trek for some, a pilgrimage that can be life changing.

Witnessing the amazing countryside of Spain and the hospitality of villagers, the pilgrims walk in solitude or with strangers that become friends. Often they are working out struggles in their lives that the real world allows them to hide. But we can not hide from the rocks that God allows in our lives. But he also gives us the ability to smooth those rough edges away.

What are we hiding by not being our true selves?
What do we need time in solitude to pray about?

Are there people who have come into your life at moments when you are in need of a different perspective, a calm voice, a warm embrace. Martin Sheen resists sharing his life and his journey with anyone, but life has another route planned for him. To watch his growth through his long walk shows us the way of our own journey, or at least what we try to avoid and that which awaits us.

We can not escape life and all of the rocky paths that lie ahead.
But wait!
Around the corner is the smooth, gentle landscape that give us joy, hope and love!

Watch this inspirational story that has a father embarking on a historical pilgrimage to honor his son’s desire to finish the journey of The Way. What Tom doesn’t plan on is the profound impact the journey will have on him and the life he began comfortable with as a widow with a routine life.

You will see yourself in so many of the characters and grow as they develop throughout the movie. It’s so worth your time – Enjoy!!

Categories: Balance, Family, God | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tips, Gifts & Inspiration Friday

Discovered this organization on Thursday
School & Community Assistance Recycling Composting Education = SCARCE

My office has already brought two vans of donations over there!
A great group of volunteers focused on an amazing mission.

Educate and keep usable books and supplies out of landfills.

How can we make a difference in the world?
Have we thought about what we throw away every day?
Is there someone else that can use what we discard?
Check out this video – What an inspiration for us all!!

Categories: Explore, TGIF | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s your Passion?

I am inspired and humbled by people who are living life with passion.

Passion…doing what you love, being who you are meant to be, spreading your joy to others!

I have a dear friend who is an incredible teacher and administrator. She has been praying and waiting for an opportunity to share her passion with preschoolers after a management change found her without a job. And lo and behold prayers answered. Check out Christi’s passion…she is creating a preschool at St. Peter’s United Church in Frankfort. Her brochure can be found at Christi is kind, compassionate, creative, child-focused and an incredible gift to all the children she has taught over the years. Her passion is preschool children and it shows in her attention to detail and planning. She begins everything with the child in mind and will build a wonderful preschool. I admire her passion!

Some are lucky and their passion becomes their job, so they get paid for doing what they absolutely love –  AWESOME!  But your passion does not have to be your job, it can shine through your everyday actions.

I have a friend that works full-time, is raising two young child and then finds the time for her passion. Jen’s passion is helping to protect our precious resources. She takes time each day to share a “homemade bug spray” concoction or a new recipe that she has discovered. Her blog can be found at, she is intelligent, funny and committed to making the world better. I love her passion!

So I will ask again, What are you passionate about?

Maybe your passion is sports or babies; maybe it’s crafting or singing; maybe it’s your relationships or reading, acting or cooking…
It can be anything, because you can love anything. Discover your passion, learn new things, try new things until you discover your passion.

You are a uniquely created individual with gifts and talents that are screaming to come out of you, be used and shared by you, discover them!

Just be true to who you are,
live your best life,
throw your worries into the wind
and be PASSIONATE everyday!

Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.
Harvey Fierstein

Categories: Balance | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


This past weekend I was high! It was exciting, exhilarating and exhausting all at once. This is the eleventh time I was on this high and it never gets old. Each year at the end of June I spend three days getting lit on fire!

Okay, I don’t know what you are thinking, but I am talking about the energy and fire of the Holy Spirit!

YLC 2011’s theme was “Bread of Life, Covenant of Love” and at this 31st Annual Youth Leadership Conference you felt LIFE and LOVE!!

Over 650 teens, 50 college students and 100 adults come together to Praise and Worship and learn how to Share their Faith with others.

It was a powerful experience.

LIFE – – I felt LIFE at every turn. From the high energy in the large general sessions that included teen witness talks, intoxicating prayer services, compassionate reconciliation and adoration; joyful presentations by Jesse Manibusan and ValLimar Jansen and workshops by spirit filled presenters!  We experienced God’s great love through new friends, reconnecting with old friends, singing, adoring, Mass on the grass, and of course frisbee in the quad.

The power of forgiveness was flowing in the field house Friday night with teens gathered at the large crosses, knelt in adoration and feeling the mercy of reconciliation.

Prayer experiences on Saturday were a strong testament to the openness of these amazing youth. They were assigned “by the Holy Spirit” which prayer workshop to experience. Their openness try new things and let the Spirit guide them was apparent as they attended Guided Meditation, Taize, Marian, Art Prayer, Centering, Novena, Digital, Nature and other prayer forms. What a spirit-filled adventure.

LOVE – – I felt LOVE! Love from all the youth; smiling, joyful, kind youth that were eager to share that joy with everyone they met. I want to harness that love and energy just to release a little every day. The youths were happy to be there even amid all the construction of the college campus and walking from dorm to workshops, from workshops to cafeteria, from cafeteria to dorms and back again!

This was a high for me. It is every year.

Our bodies seek this type of event to refocus and refresh ourselves. It’s a time to put the busy-ness of life away and to be in the presence of a collective joy. From 6:30 am to 10:30 pm, non-stop vitality is exciting, exhilarating and exhausting all at once. We all need a retreat every year. I actually prefer three “retreat” experiences a year. They can be service retreats, leadership retreats, contemplative retreats or spa retreats. We need to spend time working outside of our everyday routine…and get REFRESHED!

Even though I was so glad to be in my own bed Sunday evening, I was already missing the joy and fire of the weekend.
Well, until next YLC!

Categories: Balance, God, Gratefulness | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pride for an American Hero

Pride in our family, our nation, our heroes was seen throughout the southwest suburbs today.

At the funeral of my cousin’s son who was killed in Iraq, emotions ran deep.
As I stood in the back of the funeral home listening to the stories about this young man with a huge heart I was moved to tears. An honorable man who loved everyone he met, loved playing the guitar and loved making a difference in the lives of others by serving in the army. He was an American Hero.

He was an American Hero as a soldier
His wife, mother, father, sisters, brother, grandfather and grandmothers now wear the Gold Star for their sacrifice. I will be eternally grateful to all the men and women who have given their lives so that we may be free. The service was distinguished and honorable, with Patriot Guard Riders standing in respect throughout the visitation and funeral. The room hushed as they came forward to say their final goodbyes, especially the final Patriot Guard; a World War Two veteran that saluted Mike’s casket. The image of the Patriot Guard Riders standing with the US flags, then riding with the motorcade to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for his final resting place is imbedded in my memory.

Never have I been so proud to be an American.

He was an American Hero as a brother, son and husband.
As we drove through Homer Glen, Lockport, New Lenox, Joliet and Elwood the streets were lined with hundreds of people. Young and old, walkers and strollers, boy scouts and soccer players to honor a fallen hero. Businesses stopped and employees stood at the street under their company signs that were changed to read “In memory” or “We miss you”. People on the streets held handmade signs with “Thank you for your sacrifice”, “God bless Mike”, “Our hero” and just miles and miles of American flags. It was so touching to see so many people, some that may not have even know Mike, taking time out of their day to stand on the streets in respect. Then we would pass fields with no one and suddenly at the end of a farm-house driveway would be a single person standing and saluting the 200 cars, or a woman, dog at her side, right hand on her heart and left hand holding a flag, alone but honoring another. Then, there was a mother and her two sons, in their Boy Scout uniforms with flags in Homer Glen, then they appeared again in New Lenox – they must have got in their car and traveled on back streets to get in front of the procession to honor Mike twice. A mother teaching her sons about committment, dedication and honor…a message they will never forget. Nothing is more important than honoring our heroes and paying our respects. I have known that my whole life, but I felt it deep in my heart today.

At the cemetery, six soldiers carried Mike’s casket to his final resting place, as everyone encircled the family with love. The 21 gun salute, the folding and presenting of the American flag and the bugle rendering Taps, brought everyone to a somber reality of this final goodbye. As I wiped my eyes, I saw something moving from the corner of my eye and I looked up. Past the lines of the uniformed headstones there was a grove of trees and beautifully soaring in a circle above the trees were three hawks. Then a fourth hawk flew towards the group and they flew off together. I believe this was the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, soaring to bring Mikey home. And off he went with the Trinity to his true home. Faith and Life in the ultimate image.

I know how touched I was by the outpouring of honor, respect and love – I can only imagine what Mike’s wife, parents and siblings felt.

Today I was so proud to be an Olivieri and more importantly humbled and proud to be an American! May the faith of Mike’s family and the prayers of a community comfort them in their grief.

On behalf of a grateful nation…God bless you Mike!!

Categories: America, Balance, Family, Gratefulness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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