Living Big

November 23rd, 2013

I don’t want to dwell on sad things but I also could not let the anniversary of my parents death go by without writing a little something here because I know many of you knew my mom (and dad) personally and may be feeling a little sad today as well.

It’s funny because no matter how much I think about this horrible day and the fire a year ago, the things that keep reigning bigger in my mind are their their lives and their hearts.  That made me think about how important it is that we all live BIG.  Something like a fire could easily be a big enough event to steal our focus and memories.  A fire that size is scary and almost has a life of its own because it is so uncontrolled.  If someone lived a small life, it might be the  the scary fire that kept invading our thoughts when we remembered them. But neither of my parents lived small lives.  They  did many small (and big things) with BIG kindness and BIG love.  They reached out and made people everywhere feel welcome and special.

So yes, I think about the fire sometimes but that fear and sadness gets so quickly pushed away by the bigness of their love and the way they impacted us all while they were here.  What an important thing that we all live with big love and passion because that is what we will leave behind for others to remember  no matter how we leave the planet.  That step into the next life is so quick but what we do with our lives while we are here impacts those around us forever.  How many people can we help while we are here? How many people can we love? Are there people we could make smile today with a phone call? Is there someone whose day could be turned around by a little encouragement? That is the BIG stuff of life.  So yes, a little fire may be occasionally thrown into our lives but that is so small compared to how BIG we can live. I want to make sure the things in my life that should be big are BIG!  It is our love and our passion that will live on long after we are gone and that really is a wonderful legacy.  God bless you all.


Happy Birthday Mom!

August 6th, 2013

I wanted to take a moment to share a special day with many of you who I know faithfully followed my mother’s posts.  First of all, thank you for all the kind words and support you offered her throughout her writing career, both as professionals and as friends. I just wanted to invite you to celebrate her birthday with us today.

When I woke up this morning I said a quiet “Happy Birthday Mom” before I got out of bed.  I wanted to somehow make the day special because she was such a wonderful person to all of us kids and her extended family made up of lots and lots of the friends she had met throughout the years.  I have to admit my first thoughts this morning were a bit sad.  I still miss my parents a lot.  For everyone of us I know the loss of both my mom and dad was a very sudden one.  But let me assure you now that they would have probably hated a long, drawn out ‘goodbye’.   That’s how they were.  They never wanted to draw attention to themselves.

As I started my day this morning I had a renewed sense of loss, realizing it  was going to be a long time before we met again in person.  So before the day even really had gotten started, I think I had resigned myself to the idea that it probably wasn’t going to be one of my favorite days on the planet.  I resolved to just enjoy it the best I could and to try to appreciate the memories and the thoughts of her and my dad throughout the day as best I could.  However, throughout the day I found myself smiling much more than I thought I would be.   I thought how proud she must be of her grandkids for all they are accomplishing in their lives and even how she might laugh with us at some of our goofy antics.  Driving in the car with the two dogs in the back seat, heads hanging out the windows and tongues hanging excitedly, I couldn’t help but think of her laughing at their funny faces, struggling to keep their eyes open in the wind.  I wanted to hang my head out the window just like them and squint through the wind too.  Probably not a good idea though since I was driving ; )  I felt  a big ‘mom’ smile inside because she is the biggest animal lover of us all.  As I had lunch with my teenage kids and gave them extra squeezes throughout the day, I felt her (and my dad) again in those big hugs. Everywhere there was love today, they were there.  Every small moment of appreciation, every chuckle, every sweet word, they were in and around us.

What I thought was going to be a sad day, ended up being very sweet.  I realized over and over again how much they had given us and what they had taught us.  Their faith, their encouragement and their huge, unconditional love that shown through everything – not just for us kids but for friends and even strangers.  What a great gift to us all.  By the time I headed out the door for my run this evening, I felt amazingly light on my feet.  Instead of dragging and wanting to hang my head, I had the music turned up high with songs about their favorite person (Jesus). The words ‘lift you up on eagle’s wings’ felt very real as I ran effortlessly, feeling as if my energy would never run out.  During those strides, dreams were getting rekindled and clarity of purpose was getting renewed in my heart.  ”Dream Big” – her message still lives on.  It wasn’t such a sad day after all, but in fact a very uplifting and beautiful one – just the way they both would want it to be.

So here I am writing you a quick note. I just wanted to take a minute on her birthday to do what she would have done. Wish you all a wonderful day.  Give you all just a little hug in whatever way you could use one today.  Try to enjoy every moment and “Dream Big!”



DARE TO DREAM BIG!: The Power of Two!

November 27th, 2012

It is with great sadness that we write to let you know that our mother Sandra McLeod Humphrey was killed Friday along with our father Brian in a house fire. I know how much she loved writing these encouraging posts each week and how much she enjoyed interacting with so many of you. Our father had the same heart.  We were unsure how to let everyone know so we thought we could write her post this week in the same style she wrote each week.  Here goes…

Imagine This: You are a retired couple living in Minnesota with a heart for helping kids, animals and all people.  You want to inspire, guide, and help others.

Who: Brian and Sandra Humphrey

What: On a mission to help encourage and make a difference wherever they could.

Where: Minnesota

When: A lifetime of selfless service.

This is the inspiring story of a special couple named Brian and Sandra Humphrey.  They met in college at the University of Minnesota and married.  They raised three kids and adopted a multitude of dogs, cats, turtles, hamsters and other animals.  Throughout their lives they found ways to share what they had, whether it was money, time, their talents or their home.  They made sure everyone felt welcome and that everyone knew they were important.  It was a beautiful gift they gave to those who were around them.

Upon retiring, when most people slow down, Brian and Sandy revved it up several more notches. Now they had even more time to invest in other people.  Sandra wrote books to encourage kids and teens and Brian used his business skills to help organize bigger fundraising for the needy.  They jumped in wherever they could –  supplying gifts to those in need, soup kitchens, driving around those who couldn’t drive themselves, teaching kids and more.  People who came in contact with them, walked away feeling a little bit taller, a little more confident and with a little bigger smile on their face.

They continued their full life until the day they were taken to heaven together and even though they could no longer be physically present, they started a legacy of impacting others that will continue on through those they touched.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for caring enough to make a difference not only for us but for others as well!

Something to Think about: How can each of us carry on this same beautiful legacy of giving and service?

From our family to yours – Remember, DARE TO DREAM BIG!!!


“The time is always right to do what is right.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.