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Every day, my gratitude list includes the people and relationships in my Life. What a demonstration of that appreciation on July 24th when my sister, Ramona, and I celebrated our 70th surrounded by some of our dearest, long-time friends. It was 103 in Sacramento, but under umbrellas and the cooling mister, we laughed, hugged, and shared stories about how we’ve grown together over the years.

When I returned home Sunday afternoon, the Facebook greetings started rolling in. Wow! Over 60 friends and family sent their well wishes. And being one who believes every thought is a prayer, what a gift to have so many bless me with theirs. It lifted and prepared me for the plans I had for the day I actually began my 71st year on Monday, July 26, 2021.

It began and centered around the celebration of life for Carolyn Taylor. When I got the news of her transition and that the services would be on my birthday, I knew there was no other way to pay homage to our relationship but to be there. For me, Carolyn exemplified that Maya Angelo quote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Carolyn always had a mega-watt smile that lit up the space and a quick wit that kept you laughing. Carolyn never complained and I can’t recall any disparaging conversations. Every relationship, whether in the here and now, or the past, is meant to be – attracted into our Lives to help us become who we are meant to be or prepare us for how we’re here to serve. Thank you, Carolyn, for being one of those angels.

I’ve embraced Raymond Charles Barker‘s definition of prosperity as the ability to do what you want the instant you want to do it. So I spent the reminder of the day in the joy of my prosperity. Next destination after leaving Sunset View Cemetery was Autopia Car Wash back in Walnut Creek to get a full detailing for the Alfa. That’s what I wanted to do! I’m showing my 2018 Stelvio Ti at Consorso Italiano during Monterey Car Week. Etta Rossa will be ready!  I had my laptop, so I while I waited, I checked out, Twisted Times, a new sports bar & restaurant around the corner. Sitting outside on the patio, I read my FB birthday posts and watched the Olympics over lunch and a glass of pinot grigio. Perfect place for my group of new Rossmoor sistah friends to cycle in for our watch parties. (We bonded over the NBA Finals!)

I picked up an awesomely sexy Etta Rossa with one more stop to make – Nordstrom. I wanted a new summer hat. It was there waiting for me – at a steal for Nordy’s! $40! Got home with joy in my heart. I put the hat it replaced (no longer my style and costing 4 times as much 10 years ago) in the Nordstrom bag and set it aside for Goodwill. Oh, and the intent of the new hat?  Wearing it with a sunny outfit, sitting in my lounge chair by the side of Etta Rossa at the Concorso. That’s what I wanted to do.

The rest of this birthday was spent reflecting on the relationships that tell the stories of my journey toward wholeness. Family, friends, lovers, teachers, co-workers, kind strangers, collaborators, students, and next-door neighbors. All in my Life for a reason. A blessing, a lesson, or sometimes miraculously both.

This tribute is to all of you, within and without, in body and in spirit.

Thank you.