I have been thinking through my purpose.
This last year had me really reflecting on my life, what I was intended to do, and if there was a reason for me.
I have been thinking about how people should live up to or try to complete their purpose in order to feel real peace.
True comfort.
Actual completion of a job well done.

My purpose.
For ever and always, I defined myself by my work.
And it wasn't until I lost my hum that I realized that I'm not allowed to do that anymore.
I can love what I do, love working, and still turn it off.
I can shut it down.
So, I found two amzing careers, one I was not able to shut down, the other, I learned from my lessons.
I found love in my work again, a hum, laughing, a team.
I found my purpose.

My purpose.
Soon, I was consumed with proving I can do hard things.
I still am tuned into it.
Not letting myself slide.
But I also realized I don't have anything to prove anymore.
I can do hard things, I have been doing hard things my whole life and ease and comfort are okay too.
So I run to light up my lungs.
I lift to keep my body strong.
I walk to be outside and be with my puppy.
I do yoga to stretch and really work out the tightness. I do it to breathe.
I found my purpose.

My purpose.
I met the love of my life.
I met a really nice guy.
I met a man that was so easy to love.
It was a time in my life when I was begging for easy and in he strolled.
All smiles and young.
An adorable rose smile, grinning ear to ear.
And we were family.
I was home.
I found my forever home when I saw him.
I found my purpose.

My purpose.
The family I never knew I always wanted.
It's not a surprise that the man I love wanted babies and introduced me to parenthood.
And then it's no surprise that you were both a gentle start to mothering.
And so it's no surprise how easily we found our groove.
It's no surprise that our dance was so natural.
It's also no surprise that when it took a turn, it knocked the wind out of me and I struggled to find our ease again.
Because a significant part of my purpose is childhood.
Protecting childhood and little.
So, I fight for your childhood kiddos.
I need for you to have warm memories.
I lean into our traditions, big and small, so that we have comfort to rely on.
I rely on our family and the warmth it brings us.
The family I never knew I always wanted.
I found my purpose.

My purpose.
Good friends and framily ties.
Lots of laughter.
A home filled with warmth and comfort.
A career I love and can put down.
A snuggled puppy sleeping next to me.
A partner I love and trust.
Kids that squeel with joy.
A body that keeps showing up for me and I promise to show up for her.
A home I adore, one I know will soon be way too quiet and empty, but right now, I adore it.
Little, childhood, memories, traditions, puppy snuggles and kisses, kiddos piled on top of us, holding hands all of the time, talking, being together, love on top of love.
Yeah, I found my purpose.


Five Minute Friday - aware

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on aware.


I've been taking very close notice.
Your mannerisms, how much like me they have become.
How you use your hands as I do, use my expressions too.
I've become very aware that I'm in there.

I've been taking very close notice.
How even though you're still my little guy, you're starting to get a little bit taller.
You're getting older, becoming much more a 10-year-old boy and way less a little little kid.
I've become very aware that you're growing up in front of me.

I've been taking very close notice.
How much better we've been doing.
How the house is calmer, how you're happier.
How we yell a whole lot less, the tension seems to be melting.
It was the hardest year we've been through in a very long time and we didn't survive, we really became who we've always been, the best partner.
I've become very aware that we're still in there and how desperately I love you.

I've been taking very close notice.
How around your mouth there are spots of gray.
How during our runs you can't go as far, how tired you get, how easily it comes.
How you still have the spirit, but it's a lot more tamed.
I've become very aware that my little puppy is a full-grown adult dog now.

I've been taking very close notice.
Of time.
How fleeting it is, how quickly it passes, how when you think you always have a little more of it, you don't.
How healing it can be and how much we need it to pass and keep marching on.
I've become very aware that time is our most comforting and most anxious gift.

I've been taking very close notice.
Of my feelings.
How I'm feeling and how I'm really doing.
I think the best answer, honestly, is ok.
I have moments of deep sadness, deep appreciation, deep respect.
I have moments that I'm puffy, I'm at peace, I'm fuzzy, I'm exhausted, I'm loved, I'm lonely, I'm surrounded by beauty.

I'm aware.


My dad.

My dad was a hard man.
Hard around the edges, hard to relate to, hard to understand.
He was also oddly soft.
Soft in the middle, soft in handling his grandbabies, and soft to their discipline.

My dad was a worker – more than that, he was a hard worker.
He was determined.
He had goals but mostly, he loved his work and he loved to work.
He sacrificed his body for his work and he sacrificed his time.
He put work first for so many reasons but ultimately, it was because if he gave his word, he always kept it.

My dad was also someone that loved a good party.
Loved to unwind.
Loved to be together, make a toast, loved a glass of wine, and throw a bar-b-q.
He lived for a summer boat ride on Lake George or a night out at a good restaurant.

My dad had a difficult life at times.
And then there were times he made it more difficult than it needed to be.
More complicated.
He also had a very big life and he lived a lot of life in his 77 years, actually, more than most. 

My dad could be scary.
And there were times he confused fear for respect.
And there were times he confused fear for protection.
But there was never a time he would not protect.
He saw that as his role, the protector of the family.

My dad was a fighter.
He did not know how or when to put his fighting gloves down.
But it was that fight that defined him and in the end, he fought so hard for life.
He fought to stay with us because fighting is all he knew and there are times fight and drive carry you far.

My dad had a way.
One way.
His way.
From how to set a table to how to live your life, there was only one way.
Frank’s way or don’t even bother.

He was described as a man with a booming personality.
He was described as larger than life.
He was described as a force and tough and loud.

My dad was never afraid to speak his mind but was effortlessly charismatic.
He did not always say I love you but was loved and knew love.
He was often wrong but always thought he was right.
My husband can attest to how well he passed this trait on to me and my sister.

To my mother that spent 52 years with him, bless you.
Bless your strength.
Thank you for taking such good care of him.
His last words to my husband were “she’s a good woman, my wife”.
His last act of love and protection was to make sure you didn’t see him pass.

To his grandchildren, he learned true love when he met you.
He learned how to say I love you out loud.

Adrian, you were his first and the one that made him a Nonno. Watching you grow into who you are was his dream come true. Laughing with you was what brought him to life. Saying whatever you have on your mind, that’s your Nonno.

Luca, you were the one that kept him on his toes. Always jumping from place to place as a kid. You were the one that made him realize what it must have been like to raise him. Your love of soccer, that’s your Nonno.

Anna, you were his one and only. He called you his princess and queen. He spent almost every day of your first few weeks holding you…his little granddaughter. Your stubborn grit, that’s your Nonno.

Cole, you made his heart squishy. You were his little sidekick. The one that would run into his arms, knock him over with a hug. The one that made him realize how beautiful a heart that full can be. Your way of flirting without even realizing it, that’s your Nonno.

There was a brief moment of clarity when my dad accepted his fate.
No tears, no rage, no fear, but acceptance. He looked at me with peaceful eyes and said “well Bella, this is where our story ends”.
And it wouldn’t be us if I didn’t point out to you how wrong you are Babbo.
Your story began again and again with us and then again with your grandchildren and will continue to evolve.
You live in all of us and we will continue to live your story.  

Babbo, you gave us your grit, your stubborn nature, your curls, your work ethic, your love of work, your idea that family has to come first, and your infuriating way of having to always be right.
And yes, Cory wants it really known that you did in fact pass this on to both of your daughters... or as he calls it, “the Ruzza way”.

If there is anyone on this earth that deserves rest and peace, it’s you Franguch.
We hope you find both but we also hope you continue to give them hell.

There are so many things we want to say to you but it all comes down to the two words you’ve always wanted to hear from us, thank you.

Goodbye Babbo and thank you.


Five Minute Friday - guess

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on guess.


If I were to guess, you decided to leave when you knew she was gone.
If I were to guess, you picked it, you needed to control it.
If I were to guess, you're pissed that it's all over.
You felt you had a lot more story to write, a lot more you wanted to finish.
And you're offended by something we did or didn't do.
But you're also proud of how much we all showed up for you.

If I were to guess, you're fighting with your father.
And laughing with your sister.
And hugging your mother.
And looking out for the little ones you left here.

If I were to guess, there were very few that got you.
And even those that did, struggled with your decisions.
But those that did also realized how complicated you were, how hard you tried, and how scared you were of this world.

If I were to guess, it doesn't hurt anymore.
And you're no longer scared.
You get it now, something finally clicked.
And although you're not okay with the final chapter, you're proud of the whole book.
If I were to guess, you see that now. You can see it all at once instead of paragraph by paragraph.

If I were to guess, it's going to be okay, and we're going to be okay, because you taught us how to be okay.




Ten fingers, ten toes.
Let's make sure we count them right.
Oh, my sweet little boy, my love at first sight.

Ten million reasons to love you.
Ten million more ways you shine like a light.
Oh, my sweet little boy, my love at first sight.

Ten little nicknames.
Ten cute little reminders of a love that burns so bright.
Oh, my sweet little boy, my love at first sight.

Ten snuggles, ten smooches, ten times longer than nighttime should take.
Ten more "just one more thing" before we say goodnight.
Oh, my sweet little boy, my love at first sight.

You were born in the morning, a big and snuggled little guy with eyes so blue and bright.
You were placed next to me and looked deep into my eyes with all of your might.
Oh, my sweet little boy, my love at first sight.

You were born to change something in this world.
You were born to show us how to do it right.
Oh, my sweet little boy, my love at first sight.

You were born to a family that needed you.
You were born to be held on to tight.
Oh, my sweet little boy, my love at first sight.

You were born to run and play.
You were born to remind us that life is full of joy and delight.
Oh, my sweet little boy, my love at first sight.

Ten million reasons to love you.
Ten million more to add to that and it still doesn't feel quite right.
To our now ten your old boy, you are my one and only, my love at first sight.


Storming through memories

Memorial Day.
For some, it's the unofficial start of summer.
And our little town is bursting at the seams with excitement and people everywhere.
It's warm, it's inviting, it's lovely to see.

Memorial Day also bears weight in its lightness because it is a day to remember those that have fallen.

Memorial Day also reminds me of the incredible milestones that seem to always fall around this time of year for me.
So, because I am me, this weekend carries a lot of memories for your mamma.

She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories

Memorial Day weekend, 2000.
When I was just out of college, my first memorial day was spent with friends in NJ.
I was starting work that week and although excited about the start of my career, I also felt this unbelievable realization that these 4 incredible college years were really over.
No more all of us living on top of each other.
No more incredible walks in Geneseo.
No more parties that were too fun to explain.
No more of our bar scene.
No more Geneseo.
I was walking away from a relationship and that carried some heartache.
I was walking away from a family that I built around me and that carried some heartache.
I remember driving away from that very little town, thanking it for my time there, thanking it for the comfort and love it created and leaving a piece and part of me right there.

She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
And it breaks her heart

Memorial Day weekend 2005.
We left Rochester and we started our life in Saratoga.
It was me going back to the career I started with and although I did not know it at the time, the start of an agency building me up and raising me.
I again was driving away from an area that meant so much to me, but in some way was holding me down.
I met my husband in this town.
I adopted Mia in this town.
I had framily right there, reconnected in a glorious and loving way.
I once again thanked a city for all that it gave me, all that it afforded me, all that it meant to me.
And down the road I drove.

"Take what you can from your dreams
Make them as real as anything
Oh, it'll take the work out of the courage"

Memorial Day weekend 2012.
Our last weekend before Coley was born.
It was my last weekend being pregnant.
It was a weekend to really cherish.
We bought 3-year-old Anna a little pool to wade in and she was in heaven.
We bought our first fancy camera because we wanted to capture amazing pictures of our new baby and we tried it out.
Each picture we took is stamped into my mind...
pictures of her smile
pictures of Mia loving the warm and attention
pictures of time with our extended family
pictures of me and my little guy, our last pictures of just us two

Memorial Day weekend 2016.
I was sitting at a party and turned to dad with the realization that I needed to build a new business.
I had this ah-ha moment of how to do it and do it a little faster than my original thought.
I stopped overthinking and I started making calls to put the wheels in motion.
Capital CFO was born and left my head and was down on paper.
I knew it meant the end of my time with the agency, I knew where I was headed, and for the first time, I wasn't sad but just ready.

For me, I do not often think of the start of something new as an actual start. I lean more heavily into the loss and what I am leaving behind to get to this place of new.
But for some reason, this weekend has forced about big changes in my life, big losses, big decisions.
And that means I am living a big life.
No longer wishing it different.


Five Minute Friday - heal

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on heal.


It started in my early 20s.
The process.
The talking it out, the figuring it out, the realization that I could not just keep going.
I needed to find a better way and I needed to heal.

So, I talked.
I told a stranger my history.
I talked about the relationship I was in.
I talked about the love I was carrying and the fear of being in love.
I talked about how I knew that love wasn't reciporcated and how I knew I would eventually have to walk away.

I talked about her, I talked about him.
I talked about when I was small and I talked about me now.
I talked about my decisions, I talked about my past.
I talked about how and why and how much my friends mean to me.
I talked about my idea of family, what I wanted.
I talked about my reasons for leaving my realization I may never be allowed or welcomed back.
I was angry enough to be fine with that and just start over.

I cried.
I grew.
I was challenged.
I was asked a lot of questions.
And evenutally, many years later, many talks later, many realizations later...
I healed.



Words words words!

Years ago, we sat around our dining room table with some friends and each of us took three minutes to take the Love Language quiz. It's so cliche now, everywhere, I know. But the reason these things explode is because when something is so correct and hits just the spot, it makes you really stop to think.

Is it hard to guess mine? Words. I love words. I love love love words.
It's so obvious, but I guess that's the point of these quizzes, our personalities are screaming out, but we can't explain why and these little insights into ourselves help us to feel validated, seen and understood. They help us to understand and accept.

So, tell me.
Tell me.
Tell me it's better when I'm here.
Tell me you missed me.
Tell me I'm a good mom.
Tell me you love me and tell me why.
Tell me how lucky we are.
Tell me you're happy.
Tell me I make you happy.
Tell me "thank you".
Tell me you appreciated a gesture, a loving moment.
Tell me this life matters.
Tell me I make you think and laugh and be.
Tell me we're partners.
Tell me you understand me.
Tell me you hear me.
Tell me I'm a hard worker.
Tell me you appreciate that.
Tell me we need each other and it only works when we're in it together.
Tell me you love our snuggles.
Tell me you feel safe around me.
Tell me you love our walks.
Tell me you love talking things out with me.
Tell me you love our time together.
Tell me you're happy with this life, our life.
Tell me you're happy with me.
Tell me you are excited about how much I work on...my health, my work, my healing, and our family.
Hell, tell me how amazed you are by it all!
Tell me how you can see I'm trying and working on softening the hard edges.
Tell me you can't believe how hard I love and how lucky we all are that I do.
Tell me you love to make me laugh because I love it when you do.
Tell me you love the silly side of me, because you made me silly.
Tell me how much you are enjoying your childhood, because it became my second chance at one.
Tell me how happy you are I brought us Pearl because our family desperately needed her.
Tell me.


Why else are we here?

"If not to invest in people?"

Sometimes, when you connect with an old friend and get over all of the major details, you really get into the grime of life. You finally get to the ins and outs, the ups and downs, and you really get to the grit of how you are doing, what has actually been happening, and how you really are dealing with it.

You talk about the moments that took your breath away.
You talk about the moments that crushed your soul.
You make jokes that make you laugh.
You remember who you were, who they are.
You remember why you fell in love in the first place.

It's no secret that we have been months of deep loss.
And again, for the woman that feels too deeply for her own good, it hits differently.
I feel their losses too.
I feel lost.

And how I am feeling seems irrational most of the time.
The bursts of tears and fits.
The moments of anger and deep deep sadness.
The times of thinking back, the memories that flood.

"So what's wrong with that? Why wouldn't you want to feel that way?
Why else are we here if not to invest in people?"

It was beautiful. The words I didn't even realize I was waiting to hear. Once again I needed a reminder that it is okay to be me. That the best and worst parts of me make me fully me.
That the best thing about me and my biggest flaw is that I am someone who is all in when it comes to love.
And so, I do not let go easily.
I replay all of our memories over and over.
I hold on.

And even if it is time to let go, time to move on. Even if I cannot do anything about the losses we are all facing, why wouldn't I want to feel them? Love has a big impact and you should feel it. If not, it never mattered but love does matter.

"Why else are we here if not to invest in people?"

I am deeply attracted to and am in need of being around my balance. Someone that does it all very differently.
However, talking to someone that feels as much as I do, is exactly what I needed. Someone that understands how painful loss is. How you need to pine over your loss. How you need to revisit every memory and see if there could have been a different ending. And throughout the conversation, I got to hear words that mattered...

...no matter the outcome and the healing, he didn't do right by you.
...none of the differences matter as long as you were loving to each other.
...none of that matters either as long as it wasn't threatening and it sounds like it was.
...I wish he knew how lucky he was to have you all and I hope he realizes it soon.
...of course this is going to be hard, you were invested and you should have been because you were in love.

As I tried to rush through my stories to get to the important questions I had to ask an old friend, he instead, brought me back to parts of the beginning and hit on important points. Instead, he wanted to hear the full story and even then, I didn't want to bore him I tried to wrap it all up quickly.
But he wasn't bored. He wanted to know because real friends want the full story. The ones that know your core, know what you are made of, aren't afraid to point out mistakes but also aren't ever going to turn their back.

As I faced a month of being blue, not myself, feeling heavy and hard to find joy...sweet dear friend, thank you for reminding me of what matters most in this world.

"Why else are we here if not to invest in people?"


Five Minute Friday - vision

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on vision.


Do you have a vision of what your life will be?
Do you know what it wants to be like?
Do you see it in your minds eye, can you feel it?
I don't think I did until I met him, and then it all made sense.
It all felt warm.

I pictured love and laughter.
I pictured it warm.
I pictured it full.
Full with people, full with hugs, full with memories.

On our walk today you talked about your life.
You talked about the number of children you see.
You talked about what the wedding day will look like.
You talked about what friends you will have.
You talked about your pets, you talked about love.
You want your home filled with love too.

We built a home to celebrate that love.
We built a place to gather.
We built my vision, our vision.

Do you have a vision of what your life will be like?
I do now.
I did and I still do.
I saw you, I felt it, and here it is.
The life I had wanted.


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