"The choices we make change
the story of our life." ©

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Living in the Present Moment!

Day Three of Seven
July 5, 2006
Posted by Guest Blogger: Connie Pombo

I would like to introduce you to “Carlo,” our gondolier in Venice (#17 on my passionate to-do list)! Never mind that my husband was kicking and screaming the whole way—I got him in the boat, didn’t I? (See him smiling?). He’s passionate about what he does (no—not my husband—“Carlo”). In fact, he is the fourth generation gondolier in his family. The gondola that we’re standing in has been passed down from generation to generation. It’s more than just a job; it’s more than just a profession—it’s a way of life! They don’t have the “Teamsters” in Italy; they have the “Gondolier Association,” made up of passionate Italians gliding through the glistening canals of Venice. Yes, they’re “touristy” and “overpriced”—unless you speak Italian (hint!). But they are the most enjoyable and romantic way to see the hidden corners of this unique city whose streets are filled with water. Do you ever get the feeling that one of my “secret” passions is to be a travel journalist?

What’s the ONE thing you would do if time and resources were no problem? Okay, better put: If all jobs paid the same, what would you be doing? I know "Carlo" is passionate about his "job," and he couldn't imagine doing anything else! But what about you?

There is a worrisome trend in America: We are not necessarily "passionate" about our jobs or professions. We are a “to be, to do, to have” culture, which means “things,” mean a lot to us. We seem to need a lot of them! Fortunately, I had the privilege of living in another culture—Italy—that regards relationships as the most important “thing” in life—family and friends! I married into a large Sicilian family and I have been showered with hugs, kisses, and yes—“pinches” for the past 30 years. You can’t help but feel “loved” in Italy. Italians are "passionate" about life in general!

My son, Jeremy (Geremia) was born in Catania, Sicily—the birthplace of his great grandfather (bisnonno). I’m blessed to speak another language and to know another culture. Why is it so important? Because we need to realize that there is more than one worldview, and if you have the opportunity to visit another country—DO IT! (In fact, put that at the top of your passionate to-do list!) You just might realize a "new" passion!

Speaking of Italy, I can’t help but share this story: When I first met the legendary Florence Littauer two years ago at CLASS, I had never heard of her before (remember: I’m still a newbie!). I just returned from Italy with a broken foot and was miserable with a hard cast up to my knee. I spent most of my “free time” in the hotel room at Sandy Cove. The last day, I managed to make it to the dining hall and sat at Florence’s table (everyone was bearing her gifts). One of the author/speakers had just returned from Florence, Italy and brought her an exquisite Florentine pendant. I was gushing over its beauty and then turned to Florence and said, “So, what’s your favorite city in Italy?” Everyone seated at the table was silent—all eyes were on Florence—waiting for her timely response (I still didn’t have a clue as to what I said wrong!). I absolutely love what Florence did next. She smiled graciously, picked up her fork without a pause, and said, “Florence, Italy.” By the way, I still didn’t get it (duh!) until I got back to my hotel room and ended up laughing myself to sleep that night! There are some things in life you can’t do without it and a sense of HUMOR is one of them. Don’t leave home without it!

It’s been a long holiday weekend, full of celebration, travel and family get-togethers. Some of you are waking up to the “real” world this morning and off to work. So in case you were away and didn’t read my last two posts (by the way “Day Two” just won the award for the lengthiest post in GAUT history—thank you to “everyone” who e-mailed me to share that wonderful news!).

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of the Last Two Days: “Living Life Passionately!” found in God Allows U-Turns for Women: The Choices We Make Change the Story of Our Life (vol. 4): What I thought was the “end” of life was just the “beginning” of a glorious road trip! And what I perceived as a “Dead End” was a miraculous “U-Turn.” And this “ONE” thing I know: God takes us from the place where we are to the place where He wants us to be. And He wants us to be “passionate” not only about Him, but what we are doing!

Friends, I feel so blessed to wake up every morning and feel intense excitement about the work God has given me to do. It brings me such great joy to know that I’m right where I’m supposed to be. And I believe that’s when we’re doing what we’re supposed to do—it not only brings a SMILE to our face, but to God’s as well!

There are several books in my library that I read over and over again—I never tire of them! One of my favorites is Life Wide Open by David Jeremiah. He writes, “Passionate people hang in there when the going gets tough. They persist, they persevere, they never lose heart, and they never quit.” He goes on to share this verse: "For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again" (Proverbs 24:16, NIV). In other words, we need to get back up!

The most passionate people I know are the ones who have suffered the most (look up the etymology of the word “suffering”). Is it any wonder? Check out one of my favorite resource tools: P-R-E-C-E-P-T A-U-S-T-I-N (you will think you died and went to resource heaven!).

The best advice I ever received on life came from a nurse oncologist: "Connie, this isn't the end of life . . . it's only the beginning. Some women start entirely new lives: they go back to school, travel, quit jobs they dislike, and pursue their passions." You know, she was right. Cancer was a wake-up call! I feel such an urgency about life! I have no regrets, just great memories!

Remember: "Yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn't here yet, we only have this present moment--that's why it's called a gift."

Thought for The Day: “Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tomorrow: The people, the places, and the mentors that have given me inspiration. Don’t miss this one—your name just might be on the list!

Living Life Passionately,

Connie Pombo
My Blog: Living Passionately!
Hey there my U-Turn sister. Speaking of books, I just finished "Second Guessing God" by Brian Jones. Why I picked it up, I don't know (I'm a true-blue fiction reader) other than the title intrigued me. (How about that fellow authors-the title gets the reader every time, doesn't it?) Subtitles are just as important, and this book's subtitle is "hanging on when you can't see his plan." I wondered, "What's this guy been through to write about this?" Interestingly, in one of his chapters he writes about "the miracle of perseverance." That's right, MIRACLE. (I can attest to the fact that it is a MIRACLE from my own experience! If you would have asked me before June 30, 1992, if I would have made if my husband died, I would have answered with a resounding "NO!!!!!) Brian Jones, (a Pastor-that's how he has experience-I'm a PK, so I've seen my dad go through many a trial), goes on to share how important it is to have someone in your life who has walked in your shoes before. He says, "to persevere, find a Paul." How about it brothers and sisters, do you know a "Paul" or maybe a "Pauline"? Or maybe God has allowed you to be a "Paul" or "Pauline". Thank you Connie, or should I say, "Pauline" for being there for those who are dying for the hope and help of Jesus. You are his hands and feet and they are beautiful!
In Jesus' love,
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