Connector Beth

Non-profit professional. Care deeply about family, friends and community. Love to problem-solve. Love to laugh. Love to read. Love to learn.

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Right Here. Right Now.

Confession: I sometimes talk on the phone while driving. I know, I know…..

Often, these phone calls are with my parents. If I’m still chatting with them when I get to my intended destination, I stay in the car and on the phone in order to finish our conversation. If that means I am a few minutes late, it’s ok. I would rather see a meaningful conversation to its conclusion than to hurry up and hang up, or to finish that conversation while walking through the grocery store or heading into a meeting.

The other day I was talking to first Dad then Mom, and ended up sitting in the Hy-Vee parking lot for about 10 minutes. In preparation to finishing up the call I  told Mom, “Well, I’m at the place I’m supposed to be.”

She responded by saying, “Wow. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all say that every day?” Blew me away. What a cool way to think. Thanks, Mom, for making me think a little differently yesterday.

Hope you are at the place you’re supposed to be. If not, what ideas do you have to get there?

Enjoy the spring weekend, my friends!


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Blessing Others Provides Benefits for You, Too

A couple months ago, we visited a Unitarian Universalist church with our family in Austin, Texas. I received a gift that day.

One of the rituals this church celebrates during the weekly service is called a Metta Meditation. It’s a way to ask for a blessing for you first, send blessings to someone you love and care about secondly, and – finally – wish for blessings for someone you struggle with. Based on your faith tradition, this can be a blessing, warm thoughts, or prayers.

During this entire ritual, you center yourself in an attitude of prayer and mindfulness. First, you say (silently, quietly or in a murmur):

May I be free from danger;

May I be mentally healthy;

May I be physically happy;

May I have ease of well-being.

Next, you think about someone you care about and love and – maybe – are concerned about. You then say (as above):

May you be free from danger;

May you be mentally healthy;

May you be physically happy;

May you have ease of well-being.

Finally, you ask the same things for someone who have difficulty with, someone you are angry with, someone who has harmed you. If you can’t say it directly, you can say:

To the best of my ability,

I wish for you to be free from danger;

I wish for you to be mentally healthy;

I wish for you to be physically happy;

I wish for you to have ease of well-being.

Why is all of this so important? First, we very often neglect or forget to take care of ourselves, or we feel we are not worthy of self-care. That’s ridiculous, which I’m sure you know (or at least understand, even it’s it’s not emotionally something you are comfortable with). Once you have asked for blessings for yourself, you can move onto the next circle – those you care about and those who care about you. That’s the easy part.

The third and final part is the most difficult. Why in the world would you wish good things for people who have not treated you well, or caused you pain and harm? Well, my friends, that is the miracle of this entire exercise.

By digging deep into ourselves and asking for kindness, love and mercy for others who have wronged you… guess what? You are not – in the end – doing this for them (although, it may very well benefit them). You are doing this for yourself; you are healing yourself. There is a ton of scientific research showing that forgiveness benefits the person doing the forgiveness as much or more as the person being forgiven.

What the other person has done may very well be (at least in our eyes) unforgivable. But the rewards of giving up the pain this has caused us will help heal us and set us free from the power the unkindness tries to have over us.

Try it. It’s painful – difficult – hard. But try it – it can be so freeing.

Good luck to you, friends, as you “let it go” (in the vernacular of the very favorite Disney movie song in, like, forever…..). You deserve to live without the pain. And the other person deserves the forgiveness, even if you don’t think so right now.


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Living On, Long After You Are Gone

April is National Organ Donation Awareness Month. Year-round, not just in April, this is an issue for hundreds of thousands of people.

Every year in the US, more than 24,000 people’s lives are saved because of organ transplants. And so many other people are healed, because of the gift someone has left behind.

In my own case, I have always been aware of the importance of organ, eye and tissue donations. At age 17, I signed up to be a donor. I even had a poem tacked to my bulletin board about this issue. (Geek alert….)

This is not easy to think about. Or talk about. What an amazing gift, however, when someone makes the decision to become a donor after they have passed away. Many – most – people shy away from the conversation. It’s a personal decision; an extremely personal and intimate decision. Once you’ve decided this is something you want to do, though, it’s easy to let others know.

And it makes a difference, for those 24,000 people (and their families!) who have another opportunity for life, and for those people who can be healed. Did you know that up to 50 – fifty! – people can be helped through one generous and brave person’s decision (and their family’s decision to support their wishes)? That’s a lot of people.

We have seen first-hand the impact these decisions make.

We have a friend who struggled with a liver disease since he was a young teenager. After years of waiting and struggling and getting sicker by the day, month and year, he received a liver transplant a couple years ago. He and his family celebrate his “liver-versary” every minute of every day. He will be able to see his daughters grow up, will walk them down the aisle at their weddings, will know his grandchildren. For that, all of us who know him and his family are grateful.

Two weeks ago today, our 23-year-old son lost his best friend in a sudden and tragic accident. Because of friend Allen’s foresight, and his family’s knowledge and acceptance of his decision, he was able to save the lives of four people through the donation of his organs. Additionally, Allen’s eyes and tissue will help heal countless others. We salute Allen and his family. In the midst of the sadness and despair, his family was able to know that Allen – our funny, sweet, goofy Allen – gave comfort, courage and life (!) to people he didn’t even know.

Want to know more? Please visit or They have facts, statistics and information to help you decide whether this is a gift you can and want to give. Me? I decided long ago.

Bless the people who have made this decision (and their families for supporting it). And bless those whose lives have been saved or made whole by this wonderful gift.

In case you are wondering, here is the poem I hung on my bulletin board all those years ago:


To Remember Me  
Robert Noel Test (1926-1994)

To Remember Me

At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.

When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don’t call this my “deathbed.” Call it my “bed of life,” and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.

Give my sight to a man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby’s face or love in the eyes of a woman.

Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain.

Give my blood to the teenager who has been pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.

Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.

Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk.

Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that someday a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her windows.

Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.

If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all my prejudice against my fellow man.

Give my sins to the devil. Give my soul to God. If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.


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Who is Your Maria?

Fellow Cobber and Facebook friend Bobette Berno posted this on her FB page yesterday. It moved me so much, I asked her if I could share it. Thank you for the tribute to the everyday people in our lives, Bobette!

There is an employee in my office complex whose job description probably reads “cleaning person.” She is responsible for keeping the lobby and hallways clean, but she does so much more. Almost every single day, as she scrubs the winter salt or summer sludge off the lobby floor, she greets everyone who walks through the door with a big smile and says, “Good Morning! Beautiful day.”

One grey and overcast morning she exclaimed, “Good Morning! I feel peaceful today. Isn’t it a peaceful day?” And suddenly it was. I’ve decided that if she had a business card it should read: Maria. Day Brightener.

Today she was right behind me in the café lunch line so I said, “I would like to buy you lunch today because you are SO good at your job. You make my days brighter with your friendly greetings!” Her initial response was, “Oh, you don’t have to do that.” Then, she graciously accepted and, with a tear in her eye, gave me a big hug. Best $7.50 I’ve spent in a long time. 

Who is the Maria in your life?