Shannon Ingram's Place

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Location: Orange County/CA

Musings of a woman who left her corporate career to become a caregiver for elderly parents, wrote a book and found her way back to corporate - with love, instead of fear, leading the way. Now working at my Alma Mater, UC Irvine, as Marketing and Communications Director for the School of Biological Sciences.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Please Support Julia's Quest

My friend, Julia (pictured here with our friend, Tom), is a Mary Kay consultant. We used to work together at Silverado and she left to pursue a different kind of career. Amazingly, she is literally within $100 of making her big $20K goal with Mary Kay; but she has to make that last $100 by tomorrow. She's a single mom with a teenaged son who has had some health issues this year, and she needs all the support she can get. I just ordered some products from her because, frankly, in addition to loving Julia, I like Mary Kay stuff. Their satin hands products are "da bomb!" I wouldn't have known that had Julia not sold me a little sample packet of them at a Mary Kay party last December. Now my hands and I can't live without the products! So if you want to help make a really positive difference in someone's life tonight, please cut and paste this link into your browser and order a little goody from my very deserving friend, Julia....THANKS!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Back to St. Matthew's Church

I took an unexpected journey into my past today. My dear friend and associate, Marcelo, lost his dad Sunday. The funeral services were this morning at St. Matthew's Catholic Church in Long Beach.

When I heard the service and reception would be at St. Matthew's, a little chill went up the back of my neck and down my arms, a prickly feeling that caused hair to stand up as if reacting to an electrical spark. Why? Because I attended St. Matthew's Catholic School in Long Beach from kindergarten to third grade. Those were four of the most formative years of my life and the children, nuns, priests and lay teachers I met at St. Matthew's played a big part in who I am now.

When we pulled into the parking lot, only the church looked familiar to me. I thought about the school that had been there when I was a child and for some reason, the "education center" next to the church didn't look like what I remembered. The parking lot was familiar, though. I remembered running around it with my friends, Robert, Ernest and JJ, when it was a playground. My best friend was JJ Rush, whom I recall as a sprightly, freckle-faced, fearless little red-head with long pigtails that curled into ringlets. She hated the ringlets because she was very active and they got in her way.

"JJ" was a nickname for "Jerilyn Jean." My middle name was Jeanne, so we called each other "Jeannie." Mom tried to stop that because she didn't want me to be called "Jeannie" the rest of my life. My first lesson in what it meant to be a spoil sport.

JJ and I were inseparable; but our parents had nothing in common, so we seldom got together for play dates after school. In those days, nobody used the word "play date." We just went out to play when we got home. I remember JJ was jealous because I got to be the Virgin Mary in the Christmas play. Apparently someone told her the Virgin Mary didn't have red hair, so she wouldn't get the part. She ended up with a "bit part," probably an angel, which must have been a tough role for a little tomboy. In the 1950's it wasn't appropriate for a girl to be a shepherd.

As I entered St. Matthew's Church today, the first thing I noticed was how small it was. In my mind, it had been a huge church. When I visited St. Peter's Basilica in Rome years ago, it seemed to be only slightly larger than St. Matthew's where I had taken my first communion. Another great lesson in how perspectives change. I looked up at the altar and noticed it was way smaller than I remembered it on "First Communion Day" when I joined a silent parade of second graders in the center aisle. The girls were dressed in white dresses and veils and the boys in dark pants, white shirts and ties. There was a railing and a place to kneel for communion back then. Today the Catholics at the solemn funeral service took communion while standing.

Although my break with Catholicism happened long ago, I still felt connected to the mass, the symbolism, recitation and prayer as I sat in church today. I felt the presence of JJ, whom I never saw again after we moved to Newport Beach. Maybe that connection I felt was a new respect for the faith that resonated there. I am now at a place in my life where I respect and bless all faiths and their common threads - humility, gratitude, sacrifice, love, redemption. My time in church today was a powerful experience, made sweeter by the sharing of my friend, Marcelo, whose tears of loss helped me to shed a tear for him and his family, and for the gratitude I felt about my divine childhood experiences with JJ Rush, Mrs. Carmen Welch and Sister Jean Marie at St. Matthew's Catholic School in Long Beach.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Lindsey is Engaged!

Ring the bells and set off the fireworks! Our sweet niece, Lindsey Louise Sumner, is engaged to Nels Mattson! Nels put a beautiful bling-bling-ring on her finger this past Sunday - same day as her great-grandmother's birthday. My mom's mother, Alta Louise MacNair, always said May 30th was a supremely lucky day. Guess she was right!!

Lindsey and Nels are planning a late summer/early fall 2011 wedding, so they have plenty of time to plan. Lindsey will enjoy the planning process immensely, and so will her mom, Nancy, and mom-in-law-to-be, Kim (pictured here with the happy couple). Oh, and me too - and the other "aunties" - Meg, Margo and Susan!

Gary and I are truly delighted by this good news because we love Nels and his family! As my friend, Julia, says, "BLESSINGS BE!"