Romance in Shanghai

My handsome Dad!

Dad. He meant the world to me.  This photograph was taken in Shanghai when he was courting my beautiful Mom.  Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads!  

It isn’t often you come across a man like Dusty.  He was full of fire and fury, and love and laughter.  A true romantic at heart who loved adventure and traveling around the world. Perhaps most of all he loved my mother, next to his first love, the ocean.  His big warm heart would swell with laughter that was always contagious, filling the room. He had a zest for life and living it to the fullest, every day.  His heart was also tender and compassionate, always lending a helping hand to anyone who needed it.  

He had movie star good looks, as did Mom.  They were a perfect match for each other! Coming from different worlds in Europe. . . France, Hungary, Germany, and now meeting in Shanghai during the war. Their eyes locked from across a crowded room and that was the beginning of a new world for both of them. They fell in Love and after many travels and departures from the port of Shanghai, they finally married at sea on my father’s ship. Their love was stronger than any desire to protect their past identities, countries of origin and the many challenges that met them in Shanghai.

Dad loved to dance and listen to romantic music, especially Frank Sinatra. He would schmooze my mom onto a dance floor every time with his charm and good looks. She simply could not resist him. And she was lucky. . . her mother also adored him and gave him her approval to marry her daughter. In the wink of an eye and a chance meeting in a place far across the world from where they both began, love took root and they finally left Shanghai when the war ended, as a newly married couple. New York City was the next stop. And the one after that was the sunny beaches of Florida.  

My father came from a large family and it must have been synchronicity that brought them all together in Florida. New husbands and wives. Babies and children. And a life that was not always easy to find their way, and always full of challenges, hopes and dreams, but somehow, through the thick and thin of it they all gathered together as a family.

Miami Beach became their new home, when it was still pristine and natural. Clean beautiful oceans. Quiet. Privacy. No hotels or high-rises. No condos. Just beautiful pristine beaches and islands that connected to the mainland by causeways and bridges. It was an ideal environement for my dad who loved the ocean. But all of this changed when Frank Sinatra came to Miami Beach with his new wife, Ava Gardner, and nestled into a small hotel on the beach. The press brought curiosity to these lovely sandy beaches, and not long after, it attracted developers who ruined the natural beauty of these beach towns. Along with them came the New Yorkers and droves of people from the Northeast. Everything began to change from that moment on.

It’s extraordinary to me that so many of our family members found a way to create a new life in the same place.  For me in many ways it was a ‘heaven on earth’ growing up there. There was not a day I was not in the ocean. . . boating, fishing, sailing, swimming, surfing, and water sports were my daily inspiration. And so many travels to the Bahamas and the Caribbean.  I can’t thank Dad enough for this.  It will stay with me the rest of my life. 

Thank God for his passion. Thank God for his vision. Thank God for his romantic heart and soul. Thank God for his love and laughter.  The last time I saw my father was on New Year’s Eve many years ago.  He and Mom came to visit me during the Christmas holidays when I lived in Malibu.  We had a small family dinner at a charming restaurant nearby on the ocean, and it was one of those special nights when Dad’s laughter filled the room.  

He witnessed Mom taking a photograph from a small flash camera that was backwards and up-side-down in her small hands…thus not capturing our family, but her dress.  He burst out laughing, and I will never forget how contagious his sweet laughter was. It filled the whole room and before we knew it, the story left our table and went on to the next, and the next. We all had tears in our eyes from laughing so hard! (One of those moments when you had to be there to ‘feel’ the laughter and joy.)

Finally the dinner arrived as did the celebratory New Year’s Eve music, dance and champagne. And once again I watched Mom and Dad dance together for the last and final time.  It was there, at the end of these special moments and wonderful evening together that I said my final goodbye to my father. I am so grateful it was such a happy moment in our lives together, as a family celebrating the New Year.  None of us could have dreamed or imagined he would be gone eleven months later. 

Life is so sweet!  Thank you Dad!  Thank you for all your Love! And for all the many years we shared together.  You were one of the greatest Blessings in my Life! I Love You!

And I do know that our love is eternal.  You live right here inside my heart, always and forever. XOXO

 

 

Mom’s Rickshaw

 

 

Mom In Shanghai, China

 

This is my Beautiful Mom in Shanghai, China on her Rickshaw during the war when she was a young teenage girl. She left behind her beautiful home in Berlin and everything she knew that was safe and comfortable about her life in Germany to travel across the world and begin a new life in Shanghai. And she did!  She fell in love with my Father, a charming French and Hungarian man, and began a new life in America when the war ended.  They got married in Shanghai, but it was not until the dozenth time that it became official on an American Ship when my Father asked the Captain to take them 3 miles out from shore and marry them. Victory! Love Always Wins!

This Mother’s Day 2019, I feel deeply honored to celebrate with my Mom who is 95 and still standing. Tall, Strong, and Mighty! She taught me so many things about life, but perhaps most of all, she taught me about patience and self care…She always said “You have to live with yourself and find your own balance. . . your own harmony.” And certainly you do to live a life well lived!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers!  I believe every woman is a mother to so many.

 

Softly Letting Go

Softly Letting Go

A crisp and beautiful New Year is arriving, welcoming us into the quiet joy and deep calmness of a life well lived in Gratitude.

On the cusp of this new year, I find myself reflecting on how much I have learned about the beauty of softly letting go.  I am grateful for all the experiences that have brought me deeper inside, to love and accept myself more beautifully, especially on the hard days and in the dark spaces.  

I have smiled more often this past year, even through the pain.  I have learned to speak kind words every day as the smallest act of kindness and caring for another.  And perhaps most important, I have learned to love my beautiful mind more deeply and appreciate the integrity of listening quietly to the voice within me.  

I am grateful for the blessings of change, renewal, and rejuvenation that continue to soften my heart to open more fully, and my mind and body to rest in quiet peace.  The soul always gives us resilience – an essential quality that helps us rebound from hardship and challenge. And as my soulful angel Sarah Blondin says:

It is in the discovery of our inner mystery that we remain curious and receptive to our inner landscape as we intentionally and consciously work toward the outcome we long for.  Learning to be intimate with our heart, mind, and body leads us to Grace as we hold our life with sacred hands. Tenderness is required.  And if we are listening closely to our deep inner wisdom, our feelings will guide us away from suffering and into the surrender of the heart. Inner wisdom will always speak to us if we listen closely.  Our heart expands.

Living with clear intention places our hearts in alignment with love.  As life comes to confront you, weigh each experience in the palm of your hands.  Will these words bring my heart peace and calm or will they cause a storm of hurt and harm or insult? Does this choice bring each person involved into the most loving reality?  Does it uplift or drown my being and theirs?  Does this action bring wind beneath me? Does it expand my sight and seeing? Does it bring wide open horizons or does it bind me closed? What can you hear in the simple rhythms of your body and heart?  

All you must ask is:  Does this choice I am making speak to who I long to be, how I wish to feel, how I wish to make others feel?  Does this choice I am making speak to how I wish for my life to unfold, how I wish to be seen and received?  It’s time to remember now this wisdom within you, your very own instructions in living.  Great love awaits you in the open field of your unprotected heart.  So simple they are, so easy it can become.  It’s time to remember that you know this already. . .this great and wise self woven around you.  It is but one choice,  into the open field of your unprotected heart.

Feel the breeze.  Breath in.  Breath out.  Living with clear intention places your heart in alignment with love.  Your inner guidance system will lead you to flow, uplift, and connection.  Stay Soft. Invite your inner wisdom to speak to you in your quiet moments of rest and respite.

Hello 2019!  May our healing and rejuvenation restore our beautiful mind and heart, body and soul to live more softly, more fully awake and consciously aware of the miracles of living each day with an open heart filled with Gratitude.