Project Inspiration: my Grandma, Linda Paulin

As I dig deep and look into who I really am, I look into who I invest my time with and how they have moved me in what I have called Project Inspiration. I wanted to take this time to tell you how my grandmother, Linda Paulin has inspired me and been a part of my life evolution.  She is that always-vibrant-youthful-loud-as-ever-church-lady-noodle-making-granola-baking-best-house-for-Christmas-love-best-house-for-love-love-friend-mentor-life-long-cheerleader of a Grandma.

Dear Gram,

There is something about you and grandpa, your house and the lake you live on that allows me a sense of peace.  Something about how much I love you, how safe I feel in your home and how loved I feel in your arms.  Something about our phone conversations that last forever, your laugh that is so heartfelt, and your mothering and grandmothering nature. 

And all those somethings are really my everything.

So, what I wanted to let you know, is that who you are has and continues to shape who I am every day.

My favorite place in the world is your house.  The long rocky trail to get there, the shady trees, the RV in the driveway, the fake deer in the front yard, the calm lake in the back, and you waiting to give me a hug every time in the house that always smells like your favorite scent, vanilla.  You hear the old saying, "she made that house a home' - and you have done that.  There are so many fond memories of Christmases past, 4th of July fireworks, my college laundry in your washer and dryer and many hands of Euchre with family and friends.   I am inspired by what you have created in that house and am so grateful to feel an unconditional invitation any time, all the time.  Thank you for allowing me a place to escape, be loved and truly appreciate my family.

 There is a beautiful aura about someone with strong virtues.  You never fail me with interesting, heated, confident conversation.  And though we do not always agree, be it about religion, the St. Louis Cardinals, books, cooking...there is a level of respect.  You know who you are, what you like and what you don't like.  I am inspired by your strength, ability to speak openly, and confidence in who you are.  You live a happy life and I am inspired to be strong, speak openly and be confident everyday in who I am. 

Alright, let's get this one out there.  You are one of the loudest humans I have ever met in my life.  You sing loud in church, you speak loud in person, and your laugh seems as if it could carry across the Universe.  I recently led a goal coaching seminar and I received feedback that when I got really serious about something, my voice went softer.  I realize now I need to channel my inner grandmother, speak up and be heard.  I have something to say and I do want everyone to hear it.  Be loud, Gram.  Because it provides me a channel to speak from!

One thing I will always remember when you and Grandpa embarked on your US travels in your radical home on wheels of an RV:  "don't depend on me to have a full bank account when this life ends.  I am going to use it and enjoy it right now".  Now that is living life to the fullest.  I really believe that I have the coolest grandparents on Earth.  You both inspire me to live it up, live large and be happy.  Every single day. 

I sometime wonder your capacity to love people.  You have Grandpa (a job in itself), five children, fourteen grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and all your church ladies!  You give, and you give, and you give.  I understand now why they had to put a pacemaker on your heart a couple of years ago.  Because for all the people it beats for, I would need a pacer, too.  I love your big hugs, your giving nature and your absolute inability to say no to helping a friend in need.  I am inspired to race my heart for others and be of service for the World.

Grandma, thank you for loving me unconditionally all of my life.  Thank you for taking care of me, for inspiring me every day to stand for what I believe in and stand for it loudly, to live this life to the utmost ability and to love others with my entire and whole heart.  You are a teacher, my family, a best friend, and just amazing. 

As you continue to rock in this life, keep being who you are. And I promise that I will do the same.

Your Inspired Granddaughter,

Jacki Carr

p.s.  Happy Birthday, Gram.